Local man sentenced to 36 years

William Thompson

A Tucumcari man last week was sentenced to 36 years in prison for criminal sexual acts involving a juvenile female.
Richard Taylor entered an Alford plea in 10th Judicial District Court on Wednesday. An Alford plea enables the defendant to maintain innocence while admitting sufficient evidence exists to convict.

Donald Schutte, Quay County’s chief deputy district attorney, said he was pleased with the outcome.

“He (Taylor) will be close to 80 years old when he is let out,” Schutte said. “Prison is tough for inmates convicted of charges like these.”

Taylor pleaded to two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, both first-degree felonies. Originally, four counts were brought in the case. The plea bargain has Taylor going to prison for 18 years on each of the two counts.
Schutte said he agreed to the plea bargain for two reasons.
“First, 36 years is a very long time to be in prison,” he said, “and it would have been hard for the girl (the victim) to have to endure a long jury trial.”

Prosecutors said the acts occurred in April and May of 1997. The victim first told of allegations to her foster mother. The vicitim was then interviewed by criminal investigators from March 2001 until September 2001. Taylor was in prison at Los Lunas for drug charges when criminal investigators began probing into the allegations against him, officials said. Taylor was scheduled for parole in November 2002.

“We called Los Lunas the day before he was to be released and told them to hold him for us,” Schutte said. “He was released into the custody of the Quay County Sheriff’s office the day he was to be let out on parole for the drug charges.”

Taylor has been in the Quay County Detention Center since November 2002, and will get credit for time served. Taylor’s attorney, Thomas Clayton, could not be reached for comment. Court records show Clayton signed a statement that read: “…I believe the plea and disposition set forth herein are appropriate under the facts of this case.”