A man accused of scaring an elderly woman so much during an eastern Pennsylvania home-invasion robbery that she had a heart attack that night and died two months later has been sentenced to a life in prison without possibility of parole.
Jurors in Northampton County convicted Quadir Taylor two weeks ago of second-degree murder, robbery, burglary, criminal conspiracy and related offenses.
Taylor acknowledged helping others rob 76-year-old Carrie Smith in her Wilson home in January 2012. But his attorneys disputed a forensic pathologist's conclusion that the heart attack caused her eventual death, pointing instead to her failing constitution.
Authorities said Taylor and one of his co-defendants accosted the sleeping woman, grabbed her by the hair and made her open a safe from which they took $35,000 in cash and $18,000 in jewelry.
Defense attorney James Brose said Friday that he knew the life term was mandatory, but his client didn't deserve such a sentence. He said no weapon was used against Smith and cited a case last week in which defendants who bound and beat a robbery victim got 10- and 20-year minimum sentences.
"In fairness to Mr. Taylor, I believe they went in there without the intention of harming Ms. Smith,'' he said.
Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mulqueen took strong exception to those remarks, saying Taylor and his co-defendants' actions set off a chain of events that sent Smith to an early grave.
"It's silly to say they went to rob an elderly woman in the dead of night, but I didn't mean to hurt her--`Super sorry she died,''' Mulqueen said.
Relatives said the robbery left Smith a broken woman, too frightened to return home, subject to frequent nightmares and needing help to shower or bathe.
Judge Paula Roscioli called the crime "absolutely horrendous.'' She told Taylor, who turns 30 Tuesday, that his victims included not only Smith and her grieving family but his own children, who would grow up without a father's guidance.
The victim's granddaughter, Rebecca Johnson, and her ex-boyfriend Rogel Suero were earlier sentenced to life terms after being convicted in 2013 of second-degree murder and other counts. A third co-defendant accused of acting as a getaway driver pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to one to two years.