FAIRFIELD, CONN. — Two days before Catherine Taylor’s ex-husband allegedly shot her to death inside a Fairfield, Conn. home, police were called to resolve a dispute the two were having over vehicles.
As a result of the argument, Catherine moved into her son’s home, about 500 feet away.
While there, police said, she was using an app on her iPad to track ex-husband James Taylor’s movements when, about 9:30 Sunday night, it showed that he was walking around the building.
Catherine Taylor asked her son to call police. Moments later, police said, he heard glass breaking, his mother screaming for help, a gunshot and a body thudding to the floor.
Police said the son ran into his living room to find James Taylor, 75, holding a .22 rifle and standing over 70-year-old Catherine, who was bleeding from the head and motionless.
Police said Taylor then tried loading another round into the rifle and leveling it at his stepson. But the stepson tackled him and struck Taylor several times in self-defense while calling 911, according to a police report written by Fairfield Detective Kerry Dalling.
Fairfield cops said they found Taylor’s stepson pinning him to the living room floor next to Catherine’s body. They charged James Taylor with murder, home invasion, attempted murder, first-degree burglary, illegal discharge of a firearm and third-degree assault.
He was arraigned Monday in Bridgeport, where Judge Tracy Lee Dayton set his bond at $2 million and continued the case to Feb. 19 after noting the seriousness of the charges.
“One victim is dead and the allegation (is that) Mr. Taylor broke into the home where the deceased victim was with her son, and there was an assault on him as well and, it appears, an attempt to actually, possibly shoot him as well,” the judge said.
Tracking by iPad
According to the police report, James and Catherine Taylor divorced 25 years ago, but continued to live together at a property in Fairfield until last May, when he told her to move out.
They reportedly reconciled three months later, but Catherine did not move back into the house, instead living in a cottage on the property. Then, on Friday, Taylor got into an argument with his ex-wife and her son, and told them “things were going to get ‘bad’” for her, police said.
The police report says Taylor took several vehicles belonging to his ex-wife and stepson, after which the police were called and one of the vehicles was returned to her. Meanwhile Catherine moved to her son’s house on Catamount Road.
Over the weekend, the police report says, she found out she could use the “find my phone” app on her iPad to track Taylor because they shared a family plan for their cell phone service. She monitored his whereabouts, thinking he might reveal where a missing vehicle was.
The police report says she realized Taylor was approaching her son’s home moments before he allegedly broke in and shot her to death.
Police questioned Taylor after taking him to St. Vincent’s Hospital for treatment of injuries he sustained during the struggle with his stepson.
The police report quotes Taylor as telling police “I can’t understand how I got here” and “I can’t make sense of anything.”
“When it came to providing specific details about what happened, Taylor either did not recall or could not recall,” the report says. “He stated that he didn’t have a conceptual memory of what happened but he did remember being there. Taylor stated that ‘I think trying to justify things like this is horrible.’ ”
In court Monday, Taylor stood in blue scrubs and answered questions from the judge calmly as she explained a protective order barring him from having any contact with his stepson.
$2 million bond
Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Dunn asked the judge to set Taylor’s bond at $3 million because of the threat he would pose if released.
“This is a very strong case for the state,” Dunn said.
A bail commissioner said Taylor had a record dating back to the 1960s, including a 2014 conviction for disorderly conduct and a 2009 domestic violence case that was dismissed.
The 2009 case did not involve his ex-wife, Dunn said.
The prosecutor said authorities believe Taylor could try fleeing to Costa Rica, but did not elaborate. A public defender representing Taylor, Joanna Carloni, asked the judge to set bond at $500,000.
“He can’t make any bond,” she said.
After setting bond at $2 million, the judge said that if Taylor is able to post it, he must return to court to be fitted with a GPS device so officials can monitor his whereabouts.
(Anyone seeking help with a domestic violence matter can contact the Connecticut Coalition Domestic Violence hotline at 1-888-774-2900).
Humberto Juarez and Michael P. Mayko also contributed to this story.