Yantis attorney charged with attempted capital murder

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

June 8, 2007 - A 65-year-old Yantis attorney was arrested this week for attempted capitol murder of a sheriff's deputy, according to District Attorney Martin Braddy.

The incident which led to Herbert Randolph “Randy” Taylor's arrest Wednesday is still being investigated by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office, and Texas Ranger Phillip Kemp is expected to be called in, as well.

"Any time there's a murder or an attempt of this nature, we generally ask the Ranger to get involved," Braddy said.

He said neither his past professional dealings with Taylor nor the defendant's profession will garner any special treatment.

The incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. HCSO Deputy Dennis Findley first encountered Taylor while en route to an unrelated theft call on State Highway 11 east, according to Braddy.

After Findley arrived at the SH 11 location to take a report, an orange 1985 Chevrolet Corvette pulled in behind his patrol vehicle. The driver, Taylor, exited the vehicle and approached Findley, according to arrest reports.

"I inquired as to the reason he stopped. The driver was unsteady on his feet and seemed to be incoherent," Findley noted of the incident on Taylor's arrest report. "The driver returned to his vehicle stating he was going to get his gun. I observed the driver remove a stainless finish style revolver from the center console. Upon seeing the firearm, I attempted to subdue the above driver. The driver resisted as I attempted to arrest him and I was assisted by citizens."

Taylor, after being advised he was under arrest for attempted murder of a peace officer with a firearm, was then taken to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital. 

Braddy said he was unclear whether Taylor was injured during the SH 11 incident or treated for preexisting health issues. He said officials will likely subpoena Taylor's medical records to discern what he was treated for and why he was hospitalized overnight, as they received little information from the hospital due to patient confidentiality regulations.

"From personal experience, I know he's had health issues he's been dealing with for a few years," Braddy said.

A search warrant was obtained and served Wednesday requiring hospital personnel to test Taylor's blood for drugs and alcohol.

"His behavior led us to be concerned drugs or alcohol might be involved," Braddy explained.

Taylor was released from the hospital Thursday morning, and taken to the county jail, where he was booked for attempted capital murder. However, it's possible the charge could be changed to attempted aggravated assault on a peace officer.

As the investigation progresses, authorities will consider the charge to determine "if it's the appropriate charge," if another charge would be more fitting, or if other action is required. "We'll look at everything else and get to the bottom of everything that happened. We're still getting witness statements, Braddy noted.

Taylor was arraigned and released later Thursday from county jail after Easy Bail Bonds secured the $100,000 bond set for the charge. 

According to information from the State Bar of Texas, Taylor is a local attorney, located in Yantis. He has been a defense attorney in cases in area counties, including Hopkins County. He holds a bachelor's of law degree from the University of Texas, and is certified through Texas Board of Legal Specification Certifications in criminal law, civil trial law and personal injury trial law, including at the following federal courts: U.S. Supreme Court, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and Texas Northern District Court. He also practiced law in Dallas at one time.

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