A criminal trial in Kanawha Circuit Court ended Thursday evening with the defendant being found guilty about half an hour after she was escorted from the courtroom and a bailiff tased her amid an altercation outside of the courtroom while the jury deliberated her case.
Miranda Gale Taylor, 25, of Elkview, was convicted of felony child neglect causing bodily injury and felony child neglect causing substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death after her then-9-month-old son ingested methamphetamine in July 2018.
Taylor’s trial lasted about a day-and-a-half, and it was marked with delays caused by Taylor’s outbursts toward witnesses, who she said were lying, and her attorney, who she yelled at directing him to either shut up or to ask certain questions during the trial.
Taylor, who was out of jail on bond, didn’t show up for the 8:30 a.m. start of the second day of her trial Thursday morning, and Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies later retrieved her and brought her to Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman’s courtroom around lunchtime.
During closing arguments, Taylor’s outbursts were so disruptive that Kaufman had a bailiff escort her from the courtroom to watch the rest of the proceedings by video in an adjacent room.
Taylor had shouted at her public defender, John Sullivan, to shut up during his closing remarks in her case.
“I’m about to start screaming at him if he doesn’t sit the f--k down,” Taylor told Kaufman in the presence of the jury when he paused closing remarks to address her actions.
Taylor did not testify in her defense.
Kaufman instructed jurors to disregard Taylor’s comments. He said they were to consider only the evidence and law presented in the case.
After Kaufman dismissed the jury to deliberate, a bailiff began to escort Taylor through a hallway adjacent to the courtroom as to avoid the jury deliberation room.
From the courtroom, Taylor could be heard yelling at the bailiff to back away from her and to take their hands off her. The jury was not present in the courtroom at the time.
There were sounds of a physical struggle, and at least two other bailiffs came to the hallway on the sixth floor of the Kanawha Judicial Annex.
By video, Taylor watched the jury hand down its verdict, and she returned to the courtroom in handcuffs and with a bloody elbow after Kaufman dismissed the jurors.
Taylor was taken to South Central Regional Jail following the conclusion of her trial just before 5 p.m. Thursday.
Following the announcement of the verdict, Sullivan made a motion for a mistrial, saying Taylor had been tased in the altercation, which he said jurors likely heard.
That was at least the third motion for a mistrial Sullivan had made during the trial. Sullivan made the motions on the grounds that jurors may had been prejudicial to Taylor following her courtroom outbursts. He also said Taylor told him she couldn’t physically continue with the trial because of a headache.
Kaufman denied all of the motions for a mistrial, but he told Taylor several times to calm down, be quiet and allow the attorneys in the case to continue questioning or giving remarks. He also offered her aspirin for her headache.
Kanawha Assistant Prosecuting Attorney J.C. MacCallum said Taylor was the parent of a 9-month-old baby boy as of July 16, 2018, and she was present that day when the baby ingested methamphetamine. MacCallum said Taylor’s failure to provide the minimum degree of care for her son caused him to suffer from the toxicity of the drug and potential kidney failure from the side effects.
Taylor’s public defender, John Sullivan, said there was no evidence to prove Taylor used methamphetamine or caused her son to ingest it.
Sullivan said Taylor reached out to her sister in an attempt to get care for her son, who she knew was sick.
Evidence presented showed that Taylor texted her sister on July 16, 2018, saying she needed help with her son.
Her sister and a woman attorneys identified as her sister’s partner arrived at a business along Greenbrier Street, outside of Charleston city limits, and they called 911 to get an ambulance for the baby boy.
When Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies arrived, Taylor was holding her son in the doorway of the business but she shut the door and refused to let the police inside for a couple of minutes.
Emergency medical personnel were able to get to the baby and take him to Charleston Area Medical Center Women and Children’s Hospital.
Taylor did not go to the hospital with her son.
Taylor’s mother testified during the trial that she asked Taylor whether the baby had ingested drugs, and Taylor said he could have.
When the baby arrived at the hospital, Dr. Raheel Kahn was his physician.
Kahn said the baby had dilated pupils and was hallucinating, reaching for things that weren’t there and not recognizing the people familiar to him, including his grandmother.
A urine toxicology test showed the baby had amphetamine in his system. The baby showed signs of being in “severe” pain, to the point Kahn ordered two doses of a sedative to calm the baby, whom he described as “inconsolable.”
A blood test for the baby showed there was an increased presence of an enzyme indicative of muscle deterioration. If left untreated, Kahn said the enzymes can settle in the kidneys and cause kidney failure.
Kahn said the baby received consistent fluids to flush his kidneys and prevent the enzymes from settling. Otherwise, Kahn said medical staff monitored the baby, particularly his heart rate, to ensure the amphetamine didn’t affect the rhythm of his heart.
The baby was treated and monitored at the hospital for two days, and he was released from Women and Children’s Hospital on July 18, 2018.
Taylor’s sentencing hearing is set for June 19. A hearing to set a post-trial bond is set for June 11.