Inmate’s children’s book surfaces; his case continues to haunt me

Page from Taylor Wells' children's story about a boy and a whale. Taylor wrote the book when he was young. (Used with permission)

I mentioned artistic talent in a recent column about inmate Taylor Wells who is serving a life sentence in a Florida prison as a result of the Felony Murder rule—the hand of one is the hand of all. Years ago I learned about Taylor, and I wrote columns and talked about his case on radio gigs. Taylor’s longtime advocate Beth Cioffoletti, located a children’s book Taylor wrote. I remember reading it years ago, and I remember my angst over talent and what might have been.

Beth has placed the manuscript for Taylor’s children’s book online. With some tweaking, it could be a lovely book I could hold in my hands and read to my grandchildren.

I plan to write some letters on Taylor’s behalf this week. As I mentioned in my earlier column, he was the least culpable in a night’s events that ended in the murder of an innocent man. Yet his sentence is as harsh as that of the sentence handed the actual murderer. Others who were complicit in the crime—Taylor was not present when the murder occurred—got lighter sentences.

I wanted to share the manuscript with my readers. I am in hopes there will be some sort of remedy for this man whose first mistake was the company he was hanging out with. Taylor had just turned 18 when a drug robbery he didn’t know was in the works happened. His compatriots confirm he didn’t know what they were going to do. He gave them a ride to go “pick up weed”.

That decision on his part led to his freedom being stopped in its tracks.

The decisions on the part of the men he gave the ride to took the life of an individual who presented no threat to them.

An all around tragedy dating to a single night in 1993.

(Kay B. Day/Sept. 18, 2018)

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