Jury: Keith Martin guilty on both counts in double murder

Jury: Keith Martin guilty on both counts in double murder
Rashonda and Linda Taylor (Courtesy: Taylor family)
Rashonda and Linda Taylor (Courtesy: Taylor family)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A Caddo Parish jury has found Keith Martin guilty as charged on both counts of second degree murder in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend and her mother.

Rashonda Taylor and her mother Linda Taylor were found shot to death in their Baxter St. home back in February 2011.

Martin, 37, was later arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Those charges were later reduced to second degree murder after the District Attorney reviewed the case.

The prosecutor, Laura Fulco tells KSLA News 12 it was a hard case to prosecute, and it pitted brother against brother. Fulco said the main evidence in this trial was testimony by Keith's brother, Jasper Martin. "In the end Jasper Martin came in, did the right thing, told the truth, and told what he saw his brother do and that's how we won the case," said Fulco.

Police said witness statements and physical evidence led them to Martin, who had two children with Rashonda Taylor.  Court records show they also had a history of accusations of domestic violence, and family members say they had recently broken up just a few weeks before the murders.

Testimony has included details of text messages on Martin's phone indicating a heated argument between Martin and Rashonda on the night of her death.

The prosecution used those text messages, phone calls and cell tower pings to create a map and timeline to place Martin near the location of the murders, and not at a downtown bar where he claims to have been.

During closing arguments, the prosecution replayed a recording of an interview with detectives in which Martin tells police he went to the downtown bar around 1:30 or 2 a.m. on the night of the murder.

Neighbors reported hearing gunshots around 2 a.m. Video surveillance from that bar doesn't show Martin arriving until 4:20 a.m. The prosecution told jurors that text messages from Martin to his estranged girlfriend Rashonda  abruptly stopped at 2:37 AM.

Prosecutors told the jury that's when "he was murdering Linda and Rashonda and burying the murder weapon."

No murder weapon has been produced in this case.

For its part, the defense has accused police of not properly eliminating all suspects and not looking at all the evidence.

The jury began deliberations just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. They returned with a verdict shortly before 8 p.m.  Martin faces life in prison. Sentencing is set for October 21.

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