Taylor gets two life sentences, will appeal conviction

Published 9:28 pm Thursday, August 11, 2016

Forty-two-year-old Gregory Anthony Taylor received two life sentences Thursday in the murders of two men on Nov. 23, 2014.

Buckingham Circuit Court Judge Donald Blessing convicted Taylor of capital murder of multiple persons, two counts of murder in the first degree, felony possession of a firearm and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony on April 29 in connection with the shooting and stabbing deaths of Radford Thomas Ranson, 65, and Kenneth Dean Beasley, 51, both of Dillwyn.

Defense attorney Carey Bowen became Taylor’s counsel after sentencing for a planned appeal.

Bowen made a motion to reconsider and dismiss the conviction before the sentencing. In arguing his motion — which Blessing overruled — he said he felt Taylor’s actions constituted “a proper case of self-defense.”

“It’s about who you believe,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney E.M. Wright Jr. in response to Bowen’s motion. “I don’t see any challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence.”

Bowen said when he left the courtroom after Taylor’s conviction, he left second-guessing the court’s decision.

Taylor received life sentences for the capital murder of multiple persons and one of the first-degree murder charges, and was sentenced to two years in prison for the felony possession of a firearm charge and three years on each count of use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

On the capital murder of multiple persons charge, the possibility of no parole was part of the judge’s sentence.

Because Taylor was convicted of murdering two people and received two life sentences, he didn’t receive additional time on the second first degree murder charge, court officials said.

Beasley and Ranson were found dead at 78 Roachs Lane, near Dillwyn, according to police.

During the trial, Wright told the court there was premeditation and malice to warrant the first-degree murder charges.

According to Wright, Taylor shot Beasley once and stabbed him more than 20 times. He said Taylor cut Ranson several times as well, fatally wounding Ranson’s arm.

During the trial, Wright said there was no self-defense in the case.

“There is malice by the use of a gun,” Wright said. “There is malice with the knife the way it was used … He was the aggressor.”