Exclusive: 'Selfie Killer' Amanda Taylor speaks out from behind bars
05/18/2017 4:30 pm PDT
Charlie Taylor was stabbed 31 times in a vicious and deadly attack. The killer didn't try to hide. In fact, that person would almost brag about what they did on social media.
Warning: Some of the details in this story are graphic.
Gory, grisly, the most gruesome crime scene imaginable. For cops there's no mystery about who murdered 59-year-old Charlie Taylor: It's Charlie's daughter-in-law Amanda Taylor, the so-called "Selfie Killer."
She actually snapped a selfie right in front of the dead body while she's holding the bloody knife.
How did Amanda Taylor and her friend Sean Ball go from party people to natural born killers?
At first glance, Amanda Taylor seems like any other twenty-something in America: piercings, tattoos and endless selfies on social media.
Amanda loved to hang with friends like Johnny Roebuck.
"My wife Mariah was best friends growing up with Amanda. Then I met Rex and we hit it off," said Roebuck.
Rex was Amanda's husband. She had a young son, living in Christiansburg, Virginia in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Their love connection was bonded in a lust for blood: a fetish for murder.
"They were the type of people that liked serial killers," said Roebuck. "It's a hobby for some people, I guess."
And for Amanda that hobby turned into an obsession. Roebuck says she fantasized about becoming a serial killer. But before Rex could help Amanda achieve her deadly dream, tragedy hit their marriage.
Rex hanged himself -- a horrible end to a troubled life of opioid addiction.
A grief-stricken Amanda blamed Rex's dad Charlie, claiming he helped feed his son's addiction to pills.
"In my opinion Charlie caused him to be addicted to them," said Roebuck. "I know it was Rex's choice to take the medicine and abuse it, but without a steady supply from his father things could have been different."
Amanda soon found another soul mate who shared her vision of hell: Sean Bell.
"There was never a romance there at all but you could tell that Sean liked Amanda and I think Amanda knew that too," said Johnny Roebuck. "He was just wanting to do anything to impress her."
And in Amanda's sick world, what better way for Sean to impress her, than claiming he's a killer.
"He claimed to be this ex-Special Forces Navy man, he claimed to have been involved in combat and killing in combat, when actually Sean Ball lived a separate life and none of those things that he claimed were actually true, he was a very shy person," said Montgomery County Sheriff's Capt. Robert New. "He had portrayed himself to Amanda Taylor as being this person and being like-minded in her desires to carry out a murder spree."
Homicide Detective Robert New tells Crime Watch Daily that Sean and Amanda worked out their sinister plan with military precision.
"The two were in possession of weapons, firearms, those had been stolen from a relative's house and they had already purchased ammunition and magazines for those same weapons," said Capt. New. "It appeared that they were both in agreement with what was going to occur and that was going to start with the murder of Charles Taylor."
Charlie Taylor, Amanda's father-in-law, the man she blames for her husband's suicide.
And how she exacted revenge on Charlie will send chills down your spine.
On a spring afternoon in April 2015, Amanda and Sean went to Charlie's ramshackle house in nearby Ironto, Virginia at exactly 3:27 p.m., the number that signifies the birthdates of Rex and Amanda.
The murder of Charlie Taylor begins. Amanda starts stabbing. Sean is crushing the man's head with a tire iron. Then Amanda goes in for the kill, plunging the knife deep into Charlie.
Amanda stabbed him a bone-chilling 31 times.
"She wanted him to know that she killed him and she wanted to feel him take his last breath," said Capt. New. "She wanted his death to be personal. She wanted to stab him."
The crime scene photos show the sheer brutality of the murder, with blood spatter everywhere, on the pictures, the walls -- the couch is soaked.
"We knew what the brutality was from the crime scene we had had and we had a great deal of concern that they were going to continue this killing spree," said Capt. New.
But Amanda isn't done yet: She did something even more outrageous, taking a picture of herself next to the body and posting it on her social media accounts.
She called herself the "Brunette Bomber" as she posed in front of Charlie's lifeless body, the knife still dripping blood.
A brazen Amanda asked a crime writer we'll call "Natasha" to post her selfie on her blog. We're keeping her identity secret for her own protection.
"When I saw that selfie and the smirk on her face I just felt sick to my stomach," said Natasha. "She looked so proud of what she had done and I just couldn't believe it."
Natasha refused to post the picture, and immediately called the cops.
"This was life or death and she's saying that she's gonna kill more innocent people," said Natasha. "Something inside me just snapped and I felt like if I could talk her down, if I could save one life, like it will be worth it, it will be worth it."
Amanda and Sean take the scenic route for their getaway, driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway from Virginia toward North Carolina. While on the lam, Amanda snaps a photo of a silver revolver in her lap.
The Instagram posting reads more like a suicide note: "Alright... It's about that time. I'm going to go find my husband in Hell and finally be at peace."
The "Selfie Killer" just tasted blood, and Amanda Taylor wants more.
Amanda, the mother of a little boy, seemed almost suicidal after killing Charlie Taylor. But now she's gone into murder mode.
Amanda and accomplice Sean Ball are on the run, and pursuing their next victim.
"After the murder they obtained money, they obtained fuel and they left the area and went to Tennessee," said Captain Robert New.
Surveillance video from gas stations along the way help cops follow the trail. At a sporting goods store, they load up on ammunition. Then they stop at a fleabag motel in Tennessee and spend the night.
"At that point Amanda was ready to start this killing spree but Sean began to have second thoughts, he started to try to talk to her about maybe just going on the run, to hiding out, laying low," said Capt. New. "She wanted to fulfill this desire and the next day they left to go do that."
At a rest stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Amanda spots two young college-age girls who she thinks could be her next victims.
"So she told Sean that she was gonna bring these two girls over and he was gonna kill them, that they needed their money and he was gonna do this, so she got out to bring these two girls to their vehicle so that he could shoot them," said New. "As she brings them over there, Sean refuses to do it."
Amanda becomes furious with Sean.
"When Amanda saw this, this made her very, very angry," said New. "She got back into the vehicle and drove off, again turned up onto the parkway one more time where she had planned to kill Sean Ball."
Now she turns on her accomplice, and it's Sean who finds himself in Amanda's crosshairs.
"She stopped the vehicle on the parkway, took the revolver, went around to the passenger side where Sean had his eyes closed," said Capt. New. "She saw a jogger just ahead of her, she aimed the weapon at that jogger and pulled the trigger. This startled Sean Ball awake. She took that weapon and pointed it at him and said 'I want you to know before you die that I used you for your guns and your car and I hope you die.' Then she pulled the trigger, shooting Sean Ball in the face."
Amanda leaves Sean for dead on the side of the road. She callously snaps a picture of his face. And now she is all alone.
"She would call me on a burner phone, she would destroy it, get another one, and in between those calls I would be calling the police and relaying the information that she was giving me," said crime blogger "Natasha," who wants to remain anonymous for her own safety.
Cops finally spot Amanda driving in North Carolina. She makes a final call to Natasha asking for advice.
"I was on the phone with Amanda Taylor when she got arrested," said Natasha. "The police are closing in on her and I was trying to talk her down, because she wanted to go out shooting."
Natasha talked her out of it and records audio of the bust.
Police pulled Amanda out of the car and slap the handcuffs on her. In her mugshot she looks smug, almost like she is proud about what she did.
"I spoke to her about four or five hours after she was arrested, and she was excited to see me," said Capt. New.
In the interrogation room, Amanda acts like she hasn't a care in the world, sipping a soft drink and playing with her hair before Captain Robert New and another detective come in. Amanda waives her right to remain silent and admits everything.
Then Amanda learns that her accomplice Sean Ball isn't dead. The bullet passed right through his jaw, causing him to pass out from the pain, but leaving no lingering effects.
Then, in a chilling revelation, Amanda says she wants the death chamber.
"Do you get to choose? I would rather just take the death penalty," Amanda says in the recorded interrogation. "I kill people, I deserve to die too. It's better if I just go. That would be best for my children, if I could just get the death penalty and go."
But in a stunning reversal, Amanda pleads not guilty and stands trial.
"She did this for attention and by pleading not guilty she got the ability to have this case told," said Capt. New.
It took the jury only 30 minutes to convict Amanda Taylor: guilty of first-degree murder. She's sentence to life in prison. The judge called her "evil personified."
Sean Ball copped a plea deal, agreeing to plead guilty in exchange for a 60-year sentence, suspended after 41 years. He spoke to Crime Watch Daily from prison.
"Like, the thing I guess I can't emphasize enough is the remorse that I have for it. Like the guilt that I live with every day of this happening in my life," Ball told Crime Watch Daily.
But this twisted tale isn't over yet -- far from it.
Amanda Taylor will never get out of prison alive.
"It's overkill, but I was just free," Amanda Taylor told Crime Watch Daily from behind bars.
Now hear the knife-wielding killer in her own chilling words, in a Crime Watch Daily exclusive, Amanda speaks to us on the phone from behind bars and explains why she murdered Charlie -- and might have murdered more.
"I was very angry. I was very angry that Rex would have done that, but then I got even more angry at his dad," said Amanda. "I just wanted him to feel the pain I felt."
Amanda says she killed Charlie because she blames him for the death of her husband Rex. She claims he gave Rex opioids that ultimately led to his suicide.
"Then he brings up Rex again and that's when I looked at him and I started stabbing him," said Amanda.
"That's the most alive I since Rex died. I was very happy," said Amanda. "I was very happy just to finally get all that built-up hate and anger and all those feelings out on him. When I stabbed him, I didn't see anything, and he just looked at me and he was like 'What are you doing?'
"As I was stabbing him he had reached up and got my hair," said Amanda. "I continued to stab him but he kept yelling and it made me nervous, so Sean took the crowbar, the tire iron or whatever, and had hit him in the back of the head."
Her explanation is sickening. Amanda says she compares the feeling of murder to a happy memory.
"My first roller-coaster ride. Because of all the nerves and the feeling of like freedom. That's how I felt," Amanda said. "It was very different than what I had in mind. It's not what you see in the movies."
Amanda did something probably unheard of in a murder case: She snapped a selfie holding the murder weapon with Charlie's dead body in the frame. What was she thinking?
"I was just really excited and I was like, 'Hey, I'm gonna take a picture so I can post it and show everyone.' It was just something I -- it made me really happy," said Amanda.
Why did Amanda shoot her accomplice Sean Ball while they were on the lam? She claims he was taking drugs, and that's why she pulled the trigger on him.
"I shot him for that because I was hurt and I wanted him just to stop, like he kept lying and stuff, and that's why I shot him in the throat," said Amanda. "I wasn't trying to 'kill him-kill him.' I just wanted him to stop."
And unbelievably, Amanda complains about how she was arrested.
"They didn't even give me time to like put the car in park, or like get my seatbelt off. They yanked it off, they yanked me out," said Amanda.
Was Amanda Taylor planning something even more sinister? Something that could have had a ripple effect around the world?
Police tell Crime Watch Daily that she reached out on social media to ISIS.
"They did make a very big deal about it, they acted like I was ready to put a backpack on and go blow something up. No, not yet," said Amanda.
And in a shocking revelation, Amanda claims she even communicated online to people claiming to be members of the terrorist group.
"I had this weird obsession with it for a minute, and I tried to reach out but obviously nothing happened from it," said Amanda.
Would she actually have joined the jihad against America?
"I wasn't trying to join ISIS. I wasn't gonna go blow anything up in the name of -- you know what I mean?"
Fortunately that never happened. Thanks to crime blogger "Natasha" and her tips to detectives, and the dogged determination of cops in three states, this cold-blooded killer was stopped in her tracks.
"My priority was to get her into custody so that she could not harm anyone else," said Captain Robert New. "I had seen the brutality she was capable of and it was a brutal attack, one of the most brutal attacks I've worked in my entire career. I knew she was capable of doing much more."
"I have absolutely no remorse for what I did to Charlie Taylor, at all," Amanda told Crime Watch Daily. "I did exactly what I wanted to do."
Amanda recently appealed her conviction, and lost. She tells us she plans to appeal her sentence to the Supreme Court if she has to.