EASTON, Pa. (CBS/AP) — A man is on trial on charges he scared an elderly woman so much during a home invasion robbery that she had a heart attack that night and died two months later.
Quadir Taylor, 29, of Easton, acknowledges he helped others rob 76-year-old Carrie Smith in her Northampton County home in January 2012. But he disputes a prosecutor’s claims that the heart attack caused her eventual death. A forensic pathologist has concluded it led to her death.
According to The Morning Call, forensic pathologist Dr. Isidore Mihalakis testified that the fear that Smith felt during the home invasion played a part in her death.
“The manner of death is homicide because an illegal act, a felony, contributed to the death,” Mihalakis said.
Taylor’s attorney, James Brose, said he plans to call a medical expert to testify that the woman’s heart recovered after the heart attack and that she died of lung disease.
“They’re not going to be able to prove that being in this even led to Ms. Smith’s death,” Brose told the jury. “Absent a lung transplant, this was going to lead to Ms. Smith’s death at some point.”
Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mulqueen argued that although Taylor might not have meant to cause Smith’s death, he should be convicted of second-degree murder. In Pennsylvania, that’s any death that results from another felony.
“If not for the armed robbery, Ms. Smith would not have died on March 16,” Mulqueen told the jury.
Mulqueen said Taylor also acknowledged the woman’s ill health in statements to police saying, among other things, “She was old. She was going to die anyway.”
Two others who participated in the robbery were convicted of second-degree murder and are serving life in prison. Authorities contend Taylor and one of his co-defendants accosted the sleeping woman, grabbed her by the hair and made her open a safe from which they took $35,000 in cash and $18,000 in jewelry.
A third co-defendant, David Bechtold, who acted as a getaway driver, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and received one to two years in prison. He’ll be testifying against Taylor.
The trial began Tuesday and continued Wednesday.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)