Man convicted of injuring TV weatherman in crossbow attack found dead in Winged Deer

Becky Campbell • Mar 21, 2013 at 11:11 AM

A Johnson City man accused of shooting a local TV weatherman with a crossbow last year in the home they once shared killed himself Wednesday at a city park, according to a police report.

Gerald Taylor, 54, 121 Lynn Road, was found dead inside a vehicle at the Winged Deer Park Disc Golf Course parking area around 11:10 a.m., according to the report. An unidentified man reported an unconscious person to a nearby business and someone there called 911.

When emergency officials arrived at the park, Taylor was pronounced dead. There is no indication in the report how Taylor took his life, but there was a rope and gun in the car with him.

Taylor pleaded guilty Feb. 8 to aggravated criminal trespassing and perjury but had not been sentenced. That hearing was scheduled March 4 but later reset for April 19.

He was arrested after a June 4, 2012, incident at the Ashworth Court home he had shared with his former life partner, Rob Batot. Batot is known professionally as Rob Williams, a meteorologist at WJHL Channel 11.

The attack on Williams occurred before 4 a.m. June 4, 2012. Police said Taylor broke into the house through a window and shot Williams with the crossbow, then allegedly shot at him with a 9 mm pistol as Williams tried to run from the house.

According to police, Williams had a crossbow bolt, which is the arrow used in the weapon, sticking from his chest when they arrived on scene.

Williams told police Taylor ran from the residence after firing the weapons. Officers found him sitting on a dock below the house with the pistol in his hand.

In a news release after the assault, police said there was a brief standoff with Taylor, and officers used a Taser to get him into custody.

Taylor was initially charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and violation of an order of protection. According to the order of protection Williams filed in May 2012, Taylor had previously vandalized Williams’ car by slashing the tires and putting water in the gas tank. Williams also stated in that document that Taylor threatened to destroy his life and slander his name and threatened to kill Williams, then himself.

Prosecutors reduced the charges against Taylor after reviewing the case further and determining the facts didn’t meet that criteria.

The perjury charge against Taylor was lodged after he filled out an affidavit of indigency to request a court-appointed attorney. A judge appointed the public defender’s office to represent Taylor in Sessions Court.

After the case got to Criminal Court, Taylor was ordered to hire an attorney. Officials discovered Taylor failed to report a bank account at Fort Sill National Bank when he filed documents in Washington County General Sessions Court June 5 for an appointed attorney.

By that time, he had already posted a $121,000 bond through B&F Bonding. That means he paid the bonding company $12,100 plus tax to get out of jail. In criminal court, judges are less likely to appoint an attorney when a defendant is able to post bond.


Editor's note: The fact that Taylor's hearing was reset from March 4 to April 19 has been added to this story.

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