Smoothie costs felon six years in prison

Staff writerMarch 20, 2014 

Roger Taylor

BY JEREMY PAWLOSKI

Stealing $4,000 during a carjacking from Tacoma to Lacey didn’t harm Roger Taylor nearly as much as stealing a few sips from his victim’s smoothie.

A Thurston County judge sentenced Taylor, a 12-time convicted felon, to six years and six months in prison, Thursday, for carjacking and robbing an Olympia father of two at gunpoint in 2011.

Taylor, 31, had pleaded guilty to a count of second-degree robbery as part of a plea deal.

It took more than a year for Lacey police to identify Taylor as a suspect in the 2011 armed robbery. But they got a break in the case when a Lacey detective took the suspect’s DNA sample from a straw on the victim’s smoothie.

In November 2012, the DNA profile from the straw was matched with Taylor’s DNA profile, which had already been entered in the Combined DNA Index, or CODIS database.

Taylor had approached the Olympia plumber in a Tacoma parking lot during the carjacking, held a gun on him, then forced him to drive to the Lacey branch of the Twin Star Credit Union, court papers state.

The victim had just purchased a beverage at Emerald City Smoothie store on Sixth Avenue in Tacoma.

During the carjacking, Taylor forced his victim to drive to a Twin Star Credit Union in Lacey and withdraw $4,000 at gunpoint. Lacey police noticed on surveillance footage from Twin Star Credit Union that the assailant was drinking from the victim’s smoothie as he sat in the car, and decided to use the straw to obtain the suspect’s DNA profile, according to court papers.

In court Thursday, Taylor apologized to his victim, who was present in the Olympia courtroom with his wife.

“I grew up in a single-parent home with a mother who was addicted to methamphetamine, but I do know right from wrong,” Taylor told the couple. “What I did to you was wrong and I know that.”

Taylor said he was addicted to heroin when he committed the robbery and carjacking, but added he has gotten clean since then. “I’m ashamed of myself,” he said.

The victim and his wife said outside court that they do not buy Taylor’s apology. They added that the whole experience was a nightmare. They added that they now feel validated by Taylor’s admission, because Lacey police initially questioned them about whether they were telling the truth about what happened.

The victim said he remembers going into “survival mode” after having a gun stuck in his ribs during the carjacking. He added that he thought of his two young sons as motivation to stay alive. He said he remembers that Taylor was “shaking and crying” during the carjacking.

Taylor had 12 felony convictions prior to Thursday’s guilty plea and sentencing hearing, including for residential burglary, motor vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, robbery and drug possession.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445
jpawloski@theolympian.com

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445; jpawloski@theolympian.com

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