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Accused Killer Ryan Taylor Takes The Stand In Homicide Trial

February 22, 2019
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Accused Killer Ryan Taylor Takes The Stand In Homicide Trial

SCRANTON — Accused killer Ryan Taylor is on the stand during the fifth day of his homicide trial. Taylor, 26, in on trial for first- and third-degree murder for the Feb. 28, 2017 death of Danee Mower. Prosecutors contend Taylor pushed Mower, 28, into the river near West Olive Street following a confrontation, then did nothing to try to save her or alert others she was in the water. An autopsy determined she died from drowning and hypothermia. The prosecution rested its case this afternoon after calling two witnesses and playing recorded phone calls between Taylor and his family members in which he claimed he tried to save the victim. Taylor’s attorney, Matthew Comerford, also is expected to call a forensic pathologist before proceedings wrap up today before Lackawanna County Judge Andy Jarbola. In court this morning, prosecutors played portions of several phone calls between Taylor, his brother, father and other family members that were recorded at Lackawanna County Prison while he was awaiting trial. In the calls, Taylor repeatedly denied pushing Mower into the river. In one of the calls, he said Mower “fell off a cliff” and that he grabbed her, trying to save her, but was unable to hold on. He also claimed to have alerted someone to call 911. His statements conflict with testimony of a Scranton woman couple who witnessed the incident and video evidence obtained from a surveillance camera at the Keystone Mission, a nearby social service agency. Ruth Catalano testified Wednesday that she saw Taylor flip Mower into the water, then “nonchalantly walked away.” Surveillance footage played in court showed Taylor walking on the street near railroad tracks leading to the riverbank with Mower and another person around 1:48 p.m. He returned to Keystone Mission at 2:04 p.m. alone. He sat there with other people for about a half-hour and made no attempt to contact emergency personnel that arrived on scene. Prosecutors also called Scranton Detective Joseph Lafferty, who testified Taylor gave conflicting statements when he was first questioned, but eventually admitted to flipping her into the water after he was shown a photo of her body. Comerford questioned the veracity of Lafferty’s account, noting he did not file a report of his interview with Taylor until six days later. Check back for updates on Taylor’s testimony. Contact the writer: tbesecker@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9137; @tmbeseckerTT on Twitter