The man who faced the death penalty in the Wendy’s Massacre - and who had his sentence vacated last month - was re-sentenced last week to three concurrent lifetimes in prison without parole.
John Taylor, who directed the shooting of seven employees - five of whom died - in the basement of the Wendy’s restaurant on Main Street, Flushing in 2000, had been the only person on death row in New York State.
He was convicted in 2002 and sentenced to death by lethal injection for fatally shooting store manager Jean Auguste in the head before killing Anita Smith and ordering accomplice Craig Godineaux to “finish them” [the other five victims].
Of the seven, only two survived the killing spree.
Godineaux, who is mildly retarded, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In 2004, the Court of Appeals ruled the state’s death penalty law unconstitutional.
When Taylor’s case went before the high court this year, they found his sentence to be “coerced,” and the death penalty ruling was overturned.
The Court of Appeals decided on Tuesday, October 23 - in a four-to-three vote - that Taylor, 43, could not be executed.
On Thursday, November 29, Queens Supreme Court Justice Randall T. Eng handed down the re-sentencing.
Kevin Doyle, head of the Capital Defender Office, who personally represented Taylor, said his client is “grateful for being spared.”
He added that Taylor’s four children would not have to see him executed and that he will die in prison “remorseful for his crime.”
[The] re-sentencing of John Taylor closes the book on one of the saddest chapters in the history of Queens County,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “I was in the basement of the Wendy’s restaurant that night. It was a night that I shall never forget. That which took place was among the most brutal and horrific crimes that I - indeed, this entire city - had ever seen.”
Brown said that he met with the families of the dead, as well as the surviving victims, the day of the re-sentencing.
“I told them that while I understood the depth of their feelings about the decision of a majority of our state’s highest court to overturn the death sentence in this case, it was a decision that I - as an officer of the court sworn to uphold the law - was required to follow.”
He added, “I told them that I hoped that today’s sentencing would bring to them some degree of closure - and at least some degree of satisfaction that justice had been done.”