Murder case now in hands of jury

EUGENE, Ore. - The fate of a man accused of orchestrating a murder as part of a string of bank robberies now rests with the jury.

David Ray Taylor faces 31 counts, included aggravated murder in the death of Celestino Gutierrez.

Prosecutors contend Taylor and his accomplices murdered Gutierrez to use the man's vehicle as a getaway car. In their testimony, his partners-in-crime pinned the murder on Taylor.

"The ring leader in this is David Taylor," said prosecutor Christopher Parosa. "Unequivocally they stated that and throughout the course of their testimony you heard nothing that was contradictory to that."

The defense contends that the testimony of Taylor's accomplices can't be trusted beyond a reasonable doubt.

"It comes down to what do you know happened in there," defense attorny Bradley Cascagnette said, "and if you can't know, you have to vote not guilty."

The jury now has to decide 31 counts against Taylor, including murder, robbery with a firearm and theft. Many of the charges stem from bank robbereis in Creswell and Mapleton.

"It is your duty to weigh the evidence timely and dispassionately," Judge Charles Zennache told the jury, "and decide this case on its merits."