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Man Gets Death in Massacre

Defendant sentenced for murders of two of five employees slain at a Wendy's in New York.

November 27, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — The man behind a robbery-massacre at a Wendy's restaurant was sentenced to death Tuesday, more than two years after he and an accomplice herded seven employees into a freezer and murdered five of them.

John Taylor, 38, stood stone-faced as the jury's decision was read while the victims' families wept quietly in the courtroom. He was sentenced to die by injection for killing two of the employees, but prosecutors say he plotted the attack and commanded his mentally retarded accomplice to kill.

The robbery netted about $2,400, mostly in coins.

A day earlier, Taylor apologized, reciting his victims' names before expressing remorse.

"I've shamed my family and shamed my children," he said. "I know you cannot forgive me. I don't expect you to. I'm sorry."

Taylor joins five other men on New York's death row. The state, which last executed an inmate in 1963, reinstated the death penalty in 1995. Taylor's sentence was automatically appealed.

According to prosecutors, Taylor and Craig Godineaux were eating in the Queens restaurant when Taylor, a former employee, approached manager Jean Auguste and the two went to the basement. Auguste then called the employees downstairs and Godineaux followed.

Jacquoine Johnson, 20, one of the two survivors, said he got downstairs and saw Taylor, standing with a gun and telling everyone to lie on the floor.

Godineaux bound and gagged everyone, and Taylor ordered them into the freezer. Godineaux pulled bags over their heads and the massacre began.

Godineaux, 32, pleaded guilty last year to shooting five of the victims, three fatally. He was ineligible for the death penalty because he is retarded, and he instead received five life sentences.

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