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 convicted of second-degree murder.
Jurors in Northampton County deliberated for about six hours before convicting Quadir Taylor of the charge Friday night. They also found him guilty of robbery, burglary, criminal conspiracy and related offenses but acquitted him of aggravated assault and possessing an instrument of crime.
Taylor, 29, of Easton, acknowledged helping others rob 76-year-old Carrie Smith in her Wilson home in January 2012, but he disputed a forensic pathologist's conclusion that the heart attack caused her eventual death.
Taylor faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, a term already imposed on two other people in the case. The victim's granddaughter, Rebecca Johnson, and her ex-boyfriend Rogel Suero were convicted in 2013 of second-degree murder and other counts. A third co-defendant pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to one to two years.
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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 argued that the victim had pulmonary fibrosis and heart disease, and her death stemmed from her own failing constitution. Brose said he doesn't fault the jury for its verdict or prosecutors for bringing the charge, but doesn't think state law should allow a murder conviction in such circumstances.
As he was being escorted from the courtroom, Taylor looked back at his family and told them "I love you" in a soft voice.
Smith's family embraced one another outside the courtroom and also hugged Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mulqueen, who called the verdict "a long time coming."
"You think about what this woman went through, what she suffered and how she suffered a slow, two-month death, you can't help but be emotional," she said. "''Hopefully, this will bring some peace (to the family)."