ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The man arrested in Friday’s deadly triple shooting was released from jail Monday morning.
The Ramsey County attorney’s office did not charge 19-year-old Jeffery Arkis Taylor after determining further investigation was needed to figure out his involvement in Friday’s shooting.
Police say Taylor’s 20-year-old half-brother, also named Jeff Taylor, shot and killed Wade McIntosh and his two teenaged daughters, Maria and Olivia. The girls’ mother, Anita Sprosty was also critically injured.
St. Paul police said the older Taylor and Maria dated and had a child together. Police say he took his life after the shooting.
Authorities arrested Jeffery Arkis Taylor on suspicion of aiding and abetting Friday’s crime as well as kidnapping. Officers found him hiding in a shed with the toddler following the deadly shooting.
However, according to the Ramsey County Attorney, that wasn’t enough to move forward with charges on this case.
“I’m pleased by the deliberation that the county attorney’s office is taking here,” said Marsh Halberg of Halberg Criminal Defense. “It’s easy to get sucked up in the moment, the drama, the tragedy, all those things and want to help the family feel some sense of moving on with the process by seeing charges issued.”
Marsh Halberg is a defense attorney not associated with this case. He said it’s not uncommon for prosecutors to wait on charges.
“A lot of times charges don’t issue until sometime later,” Halberg said.
That decision not to charge often comes down to evidence.
In Friday’s case, Taylor was at the scene and was even hiding with his half-brother’s child. Halberg said that alone doesn’t lead to a conviction.
“We don’t know the context of why that man was hiding in the shed with this small child. Has he fled to that point to try to protect the child and protect himself, he’s merely sheltered, bunkered down,” Halberg said. “Merely being present at a crime or being related to somebody that committed a crime isn’t enough to go forward. Mere suspicion is not enough.”
Halberg says police would need witnesses or other evidence to build their case.
“I think, in this kind of case, there’s probably been some very specific direction by the County Attorney’s Office to the investigators, these are the holes in this case that we need to fill in,” Halberg said.
Halberg said the process isn’t about quick resolution, rather making sure there are facts to support potential charges.
“People lose faith in the system. If they were to charge this out right away and then there’s either a dismissal that happens later or some very lenient plea negotiation, everybody starts to second guess well, why did that happen,” Halberg said.
Halberg did say if there are charges, he expects it won’t be a long, drawn out process.