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Possible Suicide Note in Postal Killings Studied

August 24, 1989|From Associated Press

A possible suicide note connected with a postal carrier's killing of his wife and two co-workers is undergoing handwriting and fingerprint analysis, Escondido police said Wednesday.

Police Lt. Earl Callander was reluctant to discuss the note's contents, but said it was given to police late last week. He declined to elaborate.

"We want to make sure who wrote it, where it came from and discuss the contents with the family" before talking with the media, said Callander, adding that it could be several days before the analysis is complete.

But Detective Barry Sweeney denied that the five-sentence, unsigned letter pointed to a motive. "It basically says nothing. It doesn't blame stress, anything, anywhere," he said.

John Merlin Taylor, 52, shot his 50-year-old wife, Leisbeth, while she lay in bed Aug. 10. He then drove to the Orange Glen postal station, where he killed two co-workers and wounded another before shooting himself in the head. He died a day later.

Taylor, a 27-year veteran of the Postal Service, has been described as a model employee.

A relative, who didn't want to be identified, said the note was found four to seven days ago in the pocket of an Army jacket in the garage of Taylor's home. The relative said the one-page, handwritten note was addressed to Taylor's two sons and pointed to problems at work.

"That's all I can tell you," the relative told the Escondido Times-Advocate.

On Aug. 10, the day of the shootings, and again on Aug. 14, Escondido police specifically said no note had been found. As recently as Aug. 16, police said they were closing the investigation, even though they had been unable to find a motive.

The coroner's office is awaiting results of toxicology tests performed during the autopsy.

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