Houston man sentenced in Bellaire pizzeria shooting
A Houston man was sentenced to life in prison without parole Thursday, for the 2016 capital murder of an employee at a Bellaire pizzeria.
Kiara Taylor gunned down 19-year-old Peter Mielke during an armed robbery of Reginelli’s Pizzeria on Bissonnet in Bellaire.
Taylor maintained his innocence through the trial, but his sister and father testified against him.
“He pled not guilty,” said Taylor’s defense attorney Allan Tanner, who represented the 29-year-old with Rudy Duarte. “It appears the jury believed his sister’s and father’s testimony.”
Taylor’s sister, 34-year-old Tarrell Taylor, told jurors she recognized her brother on grainy surveillance video. She also said he confessed to her, and that she bought him the gun used to kill Mielke in exchange for $500.
“I needed the money. I’m a single mom,” she testified Wednesday. “Kiara picked out the gun.”
Prosecutors told jurors she was worried that the gun she bought would be traced back to her, implicating her in the capital murder. If she bought the gun specifically for her brother, who was a convicted felon, she could face charges.
She also said her brother confessed to her after they saw news of the shooting on television. In her call to police, Taylor’s sister can be heard telling police she knew it was her brother because of the way he walked, and the way he was dressed.
Mielke was shot 15 times and died almost instantly on Feb. 21, 2016. Taylor came into the pizza shop a few minutes before closing time, demanding money from Mielke, who did not have access to the register. Taylor then shot him several times, left and returned to shoot him again.
“He said (he shot Mielke) because he didn’t give him the money,” Tarrell Taylor testified. “He said if he had given him the money, then he still would have killed him.”
The trial, in state District Judge Michael McSpadden’s court, began Monday. Because he was convicted of capital murder, Taylor was automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Brian Rogers covers Houston crime and courts. You can email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @brianjrogers.