Mom Kills Her 2 Girls so They Don't 'Grow Up Without a Mother' After Fatally Shooting Sleeping Husband

Taylor family victims
WBIR

It's been three years since the bodies of 56-year-old Larry Taylor and his daughters, Jessie, 18, and Jolee, 13, were found shot to death inside their Williamsburg, Kentucky, home. When police arrived at the scene January 13, 2017, they were reportedly met by Courtney Taylor -- the girls' mother and Larry's wife. But if they expected the mother to be in hysterics over the murder of her entire family, they were sorely mistaken. So began a bizarre and tragic murder investigation that came to a close this week, as Taylor was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing all three.

  • Kentucky State Police believe Taylor's initial motive for murder stemmed from a dispute over money.

    According to the 44-year-old mother's statements to police, Larry had been awarded a $264,000 cash settlement in a workers compensation case in June 2016. But by January of the following year, it had all been depleted, reported WKYT.

    Taylor's anger eventually bubbled over, until she shot her husband at point-blank range as he slept in their bed. However, what she did next might be the most chilling part of this story.

  • Advertisement
  • Taylor told police that she then shot her two teenage daughters because she "didn't want them growing up without a mother."

    That's because she planned to kill herself next.

    Her attempt at suicide, however, did not come to fruition. Instead, she was taken into custody January 13 after police discovered her family dead in their beds -- but not before a violent stand-off occurred.

  • Deputies who responded to the home testified that when Taylor first opened the door, she pointed a 9mm gun at them.

    That caused an officer to fire at her, striking Taylor twice. She was taken to a hospital, where she spent two weeks recovering from her wounds.

    It was from her hospital bed that the mom of two gave officers a lengthy statement, in which she blamed her husband for burning through the cash settlement, according to the News Journal. But she stopped short of confessing to the shootings, which she claimed to have no memory of.

    It's for this reason that Taylor entered an Alford plea, which is when a defendant denies wrongdoing but admits that the prosecution likely has enough evidence to convict the defandant.

  • Special Prosecutor Jackie Steele argued there could be a few logical reasons why the mother didn't remember killing her family.

    "One [factor] is the drug use, which she said she participated in trying to commit suicide that day," said Steele, according to the News Journal. "Whether or not she did, I don't know. The second thing is where she was shot twice in effectuating her arrest. Post-traumatic trauma syndrome is a possibility where there can be memory loss. Also, she had multiple surgeries and was under anesthesia for the two gunshot wounds for several days after the events, which can also cause some memory loss.

    "Taking those three factors, there was a possibility that she couldn't remember anything," Steele explained. "The fact that I resolved on is the fact that she will never walk out of prison. This will effectuate safety for the community and satisfy the commonwealth."

  • On Wednesday, a judge confirmed as much, and sentenced the 44-year-old to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    "I think the judge said it well. This has been a long journey," Taylor's defense lawyer, Joanne Lynch, said Wednesday. "I think everyone, including Taylor, hopes that this gives everyone a sense of closure and allows people to have some peace. I think that may be the most important thing that comes out of court today."

    Taylor had also been charged with two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for pointing the 9mm handgun at a Whitley County sheriff’s deputy, but those charges were dismissed as part of her plea deal.

  • The entire town of Williamsburg was stunned by the shocking murders as well as the accusations that followed.

    "Everybody's talked about it. Everybody's shocked with what happened and how it could happen," resident Amy Davis told WCYB at the time. 

    "It was devastating to hear how something could happen to such good people," Davis continued. "And they were a big part of our community. The mom, she was the school nurse at my daughters' school. So you know, you don't expect to hear that with someone who's taken care of your kids."