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Woman granted bail in death of husband

GOLD HILL — A woman accused of murdering her husband could spend Christmas with her family after she was granted bail by a Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Tuesday afternoon.

Wanda Lee Taylor, 42, is charged in the shooting and stabbing death of her husband, Gill Edward Taylor, 46. Taylor has remained lodged in the Jackson County Jail without bail since her September arrest.

"We are hoping for her to be out soon," said Wanda Taylor's defense attorney, Paul Beneke.

Circuit Judge Ray White granted Taylor's motion for bail, setting the amount at $100,000. Taylor must post $10,000 in order to be released. She also must avoid all intoxicants and weapons, White ordered.

Jackson County Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe had argued against Taylor's bail at a hearing before White on Friday, saying the Gold Hill woman consumed alcohol to "steel" herself for the confrontation with her husband, then slashed him with a knife and shot him several times with a small-caliber pistol.

"She shot him twice in the chest, then she stabbed him, then she shot him in the head," said Hoppe, adding that the defendant also admitted to stabbing herself in the leg.

But White ruled that although it is clear Wanda Taylor caused the death of Gill Taylor, the court is not convinced she committed murder — instead of some other level of criminal homicide, or that some other defense may prevail which would allow for bail under Oregon law.

The court also found it unlikely that Wanda Taylor would commit new crimes while awaiting trial, White wrote.

His client has admitted to killing her husband, but she is not guilty of murder, Beneke said.

"This is not a whodunnit," said Beneke. "We're still convinced that there's a good self-defense case here."

Taylor has four children who are anxious to see their mother. The victim's mother testified at last week's bail petition hearing on her daughter-in-law's behalf, Beneke said.

"It's a very unusual circumstance," Beneke said. "Regardless of everything else, we don't think she's guilty of murder."

Bail hearings for murder defendants are quite rare, Beneke said. Hoppe agreed, adding this was a disappointing first in his experience.

"We disagree with the court's ruling, and we're disappointed with the decision," said Hoppe, adding that Dr. James Olson, deputy state medical examiner, has said that Gill Taylor suffered nonfatal knife wounds before being shot multiple times.

Investigators have said that Wanda Taylor called Jackson County sheriff's deputies to her home on Ramsey Road at 8:42 p.m. on Sept. 14 after she and her husband had engaged in a fight. She said her husband needed medical attention.

The deputies arrived to find Wanda Taylor hiding in a culvert near the home. Inside they found the body of her husband.

The Taylors had been fighting earlier in the evening. Wanda Taylor was treated at the hospital for a wound to her leg, police said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.