TNT recently announced that they've renewed their hit reality crime show Cold Justice for a third season. At least 10 new episodes are on deck and expected to begin airing in January of 2015. Man I love this show! There are so many reality crime shows out there nowadays - the staples, such as Dateline, 48 Hours, 20/20, The First 48 in addition to the onslaught of new shows on Investigation Discovery and Oxygen's popular Snapped. Cold Justice is in the same genre of some of these shows, yet to me it's in a league of it's own. Not many crime shows have the impressive and very real statistics they have gotten. In the first two seasons since the shows inception:
- 15 arrests
- 8 indictments
- 4 confessions
- 2 guilty pleas
- 1 22- year prison sentence
Those are real results, in addition to being a very informative show that shows the inner workings and challenges that detectives face when re-opening cold murder cases. The chemistry between veteran former prosecutor Kelly Siegler, former Las Vegas CSI Yolanda McClary and their team of veteran homicide detectives is outstanding. You get the sense these people truly like and respect one another, and there is no doubt in my mind they feel a real sense of duty and accomplishment in trying to get justice for these murder victims. I get the feeling they would be loving doing this even if it wasn't being televised by the huge network TNT. To them, this isn't about television, this is all about the victims and their families. It shows, it comes across when you watch them working these cases and it's admirable what they are doing.
I'm a big fan of Kelly Siegler's work, and I've come to really admire Yolanda McClary as well as I see how her years of experience is paying off when they arrive at these crime scenes. These ladies are sharp, smart, independent yet team-oriented - it seems Siegler and McClary and team go to great lengths to ensure the credit for indictments goes to the local cops and not Cold Justice. Many of these cases may not have ever been solved without the help and financial resources the show has brought to Small Town USA. The Season 2 finale which aired on Friday, August 15th did not disappoint. This was a 29 year old murder case with virtually no evidence, half of the potential witnesses were deceased but the team was determined to work through it, and did they ever!
In episode "Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice?", the Cold Justice team traveled to Vigo County, Indiana to re-open the suspicious death of 23 year old Kathy Taylor. Kathy Taylor was reportedly found dead by husband Earl Taylor when he got home from work on April 2, 1975. This was pre-911, so Taylor originally went to his father's house and the two of them went to the police station to report the death of wife Kathy. When police arrived at the Taylor home, they found the 23 year old lying nude on the bathroom floor beside an empty bathtub - an electric clock radio was reportedly found inside the bath tub and Earl Taylor told police he returned home from work at 4:30PM and found Kathy inside a full bathtub of water with the clock radio submerged. She was dead.
He unplugged the clock radio, drained the tub and removed her from the tub and placed her on the floor. Police were suspicious of the death scene for many reasons, one of which was the fact that the clock radio's cord had obviously been altered to a 10 foot cord when an exact replica bought by the police proved it came with a 6 foot cord. In addition, they didn't understand or believe that Kathy would have set the clock radio on the side of the tub when the bathroom counter was a more logical place for it to sit. They were suspicious but at the time they didn't feel there was enough evidence to support a murder charge. Earl Taylor remained free and eventually remarried. As a result of his freedom, his second wife was eventually killed in what appeared to be a tragic car accident - later found to be a staged scene.
Mrs. Taylor #2's car was found in a lake, the scene was staged to make it appear she veered off the road and drove into the lake. This episode didn't get into the details of that case, but it was disclosed that Earl Taylor was in fact convicted of killing her and staging the scene - he was sentenced to 60 years in prison but served only 27 before being released on parole. While the Cold Justice team was setting up the Kathy Taylor case at the police headquarters, Earl Taylor was seen walking into the police department! Apparently he was there to register as a violent offender, he was not aware at the time that they had re-opened his first wife's case.
The challenges of this case were basically time elapsed and lack of physical evidence. Because it was nearly 30 years ago when Kathy was killed, many of the original witnesses, detectives and even the medical examiner who did her autopsy were deceased. They called in another medical examiner to interpret the report done by the original coroner and they found that Kathy did not die from electrocution, but rather drowning. Her lungs were full of fluid, and electrocution stops the heart - if she died by accidental electrocution, there shouldn't have been so much water in her lungs. Secondly, her stomach contents revealed corn and peas. This is consistent with a dinnertime meal, not breakfast. Earl had told the police that when he left at 7AM that morning, Kathy was asleep and she must have taken a bath when she woke up. Not true.
Another red flag - the time of death was believed to be night before she was found due to the stage of rigor her body was discovered in. In addition, when a neighbor called Kathy the night before her body was found Earl told her that Kathy was taking a bath. It seems unlikely she would take a bath at night after dinner and then take another bath in the morning when she woke up. Another neighbor reported seeing Earl come home with the dog around 10AM the day the body was found, yet he told police he didn't return to the house until he got home from work around 4:30PM. Perhaps the biggest red flag was the multiple life insurance policies Earl had taken out on his wife - many were forged and taken out without her knowledge. At the time, he was working for an insurance agency so that may not have been suspicious if it wasn't for the forgeries and the other evidence they uncovered about the true cause of death, her stomach contents and the tampered with clock radio.
Earl was also having an affair with a 19 year old woman, the Cold Justice team found her and interviewed her. She told them that Earl never told her he was seeing Kathy until the day before he was set to get married to Kathy! He kept in touch with her after he married Kathy, and when it became clear they were heading for a divorce he mentioned something about getting more life insurance on Kathy. He also told co-workers that the 23 year old Kathy had terminal cancer and she only had 2 weeks to live. A short time later, she was found dead. Sounds like a good case to me! The local police and Cold Justice team caught up with Earl Taylor towards the end of the episode - as soon as they told him what they wanted to talk to him about, he abruptly got out of the car and wouldn't talk. They didn't need Earl to say a word. He was indicted and charged with capital murder for killing Kathy.
I'm not sure why this case took so long - it seems to me that the evidence was there all along. They didn't uncover any substantially new evidence during the Cold Justice investigation, but they did put it all together in a way that showed the overwhelming evidence that Earl Taylor killed wife Kathy Taylor for life insurance proceeds. Had he been taken down earlier, his second wife wouldn't have met the fate that she did. That just compounds this tragedy. Another great episode, and add another indictment to their stats. Great job Kelly & Yolanda! You ladies rock.