Convicted murderer back in court, found guilty

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Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Chad Darnall

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. -  A man convicted of murder got a second jury trial Tuesday and a second guilty verdict. Shortly before 5:00 on Tuesday evening, a McCracken County jury found Mark Taylor guilty of 4th degree assault for his attack on a jail nurse.

Earlier in the year, a jury sentenced Taylor to life in prison for the 2010 murder of CaSondra Evrard. Evrard, 21, was discovered dead back on December 12, 2010, just one day after she failed to show up for work. According to investigators, Evrard and Taylor's daughter, Jasmine were friends. Evrard, Taylor believed, orchestrated and carried out a plan for Jasmine to be raped.

That assault on a jail nurse happened just days after he was arrested and charged with Evrard's murder, on December 25, 2010.

Taylor's victim, Shawn Rafiner, testified Tuesday. He told the jury he went to check Taylor's blood pressure and when he turned his back he was attacked.

"He hit me once in the base of the neck and three times along my back, all the way down," he remembered.

Rafiner said his neck was stiff and he suffered a headache, but did not seek medical treatment. The jury did see pictures of Rafiner's bruising and swelling. Prosecutors could not provide a reason for the assault, but said a motive did not change what happened or the need for consequences.

Taylor's attorney, Aaron Harper, did not dispute the attack but did argue the charges. Rafiner, who reports to work at the McCracken County Jail five times a week and has an office there, is contracted through a medical agency.

That, Harper said, did not make him a jail employee and he argued, 3rd degree assault charges should not stand. Also, he focused on jail surveillance video of the attack. That video, a deputy jailer testified, was contained on a computer that later crashed and was lost.

In the end, the jury found Mark Taylor guilty of 4th degree assault, a misdemeanor charge carrying up to one year behind bars and a $500 fine. The jury recommended a year sentence and maximum fine.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond McGee said he was pleased. In the end, he said any charge with assault was a victory.

"He'll be classified as a high risk inmate. He'll be classified either in segregation or isolation in prison. It is not going to be real fun for him because of this verdict," he said, adding, "We're real happy they came back with assault."

For now, Taylor remains in the McCracken County Jail. The state is hopeful he will be sentenced on that murder charge in the weeks ahead.

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