A command sergeant major will be allowed to testify as a defense witness at the trial of a Massachusetts man charged with attempted murder south of Atkinson in October 2017.
Shaun N. Taylor, 37, a military veteran from East Falmouth, Massachusetts, has been held in the Henry County Jail since Oct. 16 on $2 million bond awaiting a jury trial for attempted murder and the Class X felony aggravated discharge of a firearm.
The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 8.
On Friday, Henry County State's Attorney Matt Schutte sought to bar the military expert's testimony in Taylor's defense, arguing the command sergeant wouldn't know what particular kind of training Taylor received.
Taylor's attorney, Hector LaReau, said the sergeant was responsible for training nearly 100,000 troops and could describe the involved weapon was the functional equivalent of what Taylor was trained with.
“It's not common experience for jurors to know that,” LaReau said.
It is believed Taylor will claim it was not his intention to hit the trooper, but to render his squad car immobilized. According to prior court testimony, approximately 17 shots hit the vehicle.
Taylor was arrested following a seven-hour manhunt south of Atkinson for Taylor on Oct. 15-16. Court records state Illinois State Police Trooper Andrew Scott stopped Taylor on Interstate 80 for having a windshield obstructed by a GPS unit. Trooper Sean Veryzer then arrived and his K-9 alerted on the vehicle.
When told to get out of his vehicle, Taylor allegedly refused and fled in the vehicle. The vehicle was found 15 minutes later west of the Atkinson Blacktop at Moens Road.
Court records state Scott returned to his vehicle and called for backup, at which time approximately 17 gunshots hit the vehicle's front bumper, hood, windshield and interior. Another 10 to 12 rounds also were allegedly fired.
Police later found a Rock River Arms semi-automatic believed to have been used in the shooting. When located, Taylor was not armed.
On Friday, Judge Terry Patton ruled the command sergeant could testify for Taylor's defense. He also said prosecutors could cross-examine the sergeant on whether Taylor would have kept his skills after leaving the military.