The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

State News

September 7, 2012

News Briefs

Va. couple sentenced to life for slaying of West Virginia family

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man and his wife were sentenced Thursday to life in prison for the slayings of a West Virginia family.

Lorie Ann Taylor-Keller and her husband, Nakia Keller, of Fulks Run pleaded guilty in June to more than a dozen charges.

The charges included crossing state lines to kill Taylor-Keller’s ex-husband, 36-year-old Dennis “Chip” Taylor; his wife, 39-year-old Alliana Taylor; and her 5-year-old daughter, Kaylee.

The victims were fatally shot and their home in Hardy County was burned in October 2009.  

According to a statement of facts entered into the record in U.S. District Court, the Kellers used a 9mm pistol they had purchased to shoot the West Virignia family, then set fire to the house in an attempt to destroy evidence.

They also discarded along the roadside bullets and other items related to the murders.

Nakia Keller also used an electric saw to cut the murder weapon into small pieces for disposal.


Woman’s murder retrial on hold to allow weapon examination

CHARLESTON (AP) — A Kanawha County judge has postponed the second trial of an Elkview woman accused of fatally shooting her estranged husband in his Charleston hospital bed.

Rhonda K. Stewart’s attorneys told Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman on Wednesday they needed more time for expert examination of the weapon allegedly used in the 2009 shooting.

The trial was scheduled to begin next month. Media outlets report a new trial date will be set later this month.

In 2010, Stewart was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years for first-degree murder.

Last November the state Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Stewart, ruling that a jury should have heard that she had been beaten and abused by Sammy Stewart throughout their 38-year marriage.

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