Taylor to be sentenced Thursday

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A 42-year-old convicted murderer is set to be sentenced Thursday in Buckingham Circuit Court.

A circuit court judge convicted Gregory Anthony Taylor on April 29 of the Nov. 23, 2014, shooting and stabbing deaths of Radford Thomas Ranson, 65, and Kenneth Dean Beasley, 51, both of Dillwyn.

Sentencing is set for 1 p.m. Thursday.

The judge found Taylor guilty of capital murder of multiple persons and two counts of murder in the first degree. 

Beasley and Ranson were found dead last November at 78 Roachs Lane, near Dillwyn.

According to Commonwealth’s Attorney E.M. Wright Jr., Taylor could be sentenced to life in prison. He said the death penalty will not be considered.

During the trial, defense attorney Carey Bowen argued self-defense as the reason for Taylor’s actions while Wright said he acted with malice.

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.

According to Bowen, the two had been “whispering” and looking at Taylor a lot during the day, which made the defendant feel uneasy. Beasley had brought Taylor to Ranson’s home, Bowen said.

“Fear blurs details,” the attorney told the court.

He said evidence showed Beasley and Ranson wanted to hurt Taylor.

“What triggered this was, ‘Hook, get the pistol and we’re gonna put him in the ground,’” Bowen said, quoting Beasley and referencing Ranson.

Bowen said Taylor was “fighting for his life” in self-defense while the three fought each other in the house before the two were killed.

Bowen said it was never Taylor’s intent to kill the men.

“He thinks he did the right thing,” Bowen said.

But Wright said there was no self-defense in this case.

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