Autopsy shows Taylor bled to death; other results awaited

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 30, 2002

[10/30/02]An autopsy on the 22-year-old man shot by a Warren County deputy sheriff Saturday night shows he bled to death, the coroner said today.

Other results, including a test that might show if Jimmie E. Taylor II was handcuffed, were not available.

“We won’t have the results for a couple of weeks,” said Coroner John Thomason.

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Taylor was shot late Saturday near the 4808 Halls Ferry home he shared with his parents and other family members. He died at the River Region Medical Center less than 24 hours later.

The bullet from the Glock 9mm pistol that entered his body above the left thigh was recovered during the autopsy Tuesday night, Thomason said. It caused too much internal damage and bleeding for Taylor to recover, the coroner said. Taylor’s body was released to Walker Funeral Home of Rolling Fork where arrangements were incomplete.

Thomason also said there was a lot of bruising on the body from efforts to save his life in the hospital, but that there was only one noticeable scrape over his eye that appeared to have happened before he was hospitalized.

“He underwent 19 hours of poking and prodding in the hospital so there is a lot of bruising from that,” Thomason said.

Warren County Deputy Lionel Johnson, 27, a six-year veteran of the department and a former U.S. air marshal, has been placed on administrative leave with pay by Sheriff Martin Pace pending the outcome of the investigation by the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol.

Reports from the night of the shooting differ greatly and hopes are that forensic evidence will settle what happened.

Witnesses have said Johnson initiated the conflict with Taylor and that Taylor was in handcuffs when he was shot, but attorney David Sessums, representing Johnson, said Taylor was not handcuffed and that he was choking the officer when he was shot.

Sessums said it was a clear case of self-defense.

“We’re eager to get the test results back,” Sessums said. “I’m confident that will show he was not wearing handcuffs.

The Taylor family has referred all questions to attorney Marshall Sanders, who has not returned phone calls.

Thomason said pathologists have run a battery of tests on Taylor including one for trace elements of metal on his wrists. Other tests are also being done on his clothing, which is also being examined at the state crime lab.

Johnson and another deputy responded to a 911 call around 10:30 p.m. Saturday about a crowd gathered at the Taylor home and cars blocking the street. Reports differ on how the conflict started, but the officers were separated when things became heated between Johnson, Jimmie Taylor, and Maurice Taylor, 17, who was celebrating his birthday with others, including many fellow members of the Vicksburg High School football team.

Maurice Taylor was treated at the hospital that night for a head injury and Johnson was also treated and released. Authorities have not said what Johnson’s injuries were, and his partner has not been identified.