RIPLEY, W.Va. — A Jackson County jury took just two hours Tuesday to convict a Cottageville man on all counts in connection with the October 2016 rape and death of 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer.
Benjamin Taylor, 33, sat with his head in his hands in a Ripley courtroom after it was announced the jury had a verdict. He stood with his attorney as the verdict was read. The 12-member panel returned guilty verdicts on charges of first degree murder, death of a child by child abuse and sexual assault by a guardian.
The jury decided Taylor should receive no mercy when he’s sentenced. He won’t have a chance for parole.
Taylor cried after the verdict was read.
Taylor raped Barringer back in October 2016 in the Fairplain apartment he shared with her mother, Amanda Adkins, who was his girlfriend at the time.
Taylor testified Monday he couldn’t remember much about that night because he had been drinking for most of the day and blacked out. During her closing argument Tuesday, Jackson County Prosecutor Katie Franklin called the claim a “convenient” explanation.
In his closing argument, Taylor’s attorney Tim Rosinsky told the jury DNA evidence didn’t link his client to the rape and it could have been someone else. He said science doesn’t lie.
During the trial’s first day, Adkins testified she found Taylor over her daughter. There was lots of blood. Evidence showed Emmaleigh had been sexually assaulted. She died a few days after the attack.
In April 2017, Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill into law, “Emmaleigh’s Law,” which doubles the penalties for parents, guardians or custodians convicted in the death of a child. The bill became law after Taylor was charged.