Man sentenced to life for murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in Miller County, Arkansas

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A Texarkana man was sentenced to life in prison Monday for the 2017 murder of his girlfriend whose body was recovered from a shallow grave.

Tony Earl Taylor, 61, pleaded no contest to the murder charge, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in the March 2017 stabbing death of 35-year-old Crystal Reed. Taylor killed Reed in their home at the Smith Keys Apartments in Texarkana, Arkansas, on March 6, 2017, and then buried her body on a hunting lease in Ogden, Arkansas.

Taylor attempted to hide evidence of the crimes at a friend’s house on Pine Street in Texarkana, Texas. Detectives found bloody blankets, a shovel, dirty gloves and rubber boots was recovered from the Texas side location.

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Taylor appeared Monday morning before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones. After hearing testimony from Crystal Reed’s mother and cousin, Jones ordered maximum sentences on all three charges. Taylor received life in prison for murder, 10 years for abuse of a corpse and 6 years for tampering with evidence. Jones ordered the sentences to run concurrently.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell said there is no parole from a life sentence in Arkansas.

Crystal Reed’s mother, Janice Reed, said she has been hoping for justice for her daughter.

“This has been an agonizing four years. It has taken my soul and taken my breath away,” Janice Reed said.

Crystal Reed’s cousin, Anita Miller, lived in an apartment above the one where Crystal Reed and Taylor lived. Miller said Taylor threatened to “kill everybody” during an altercation not long before Crystal Reed’s disappearance in March 2017 and that he aid he could hide a body where it would not be found.

Before pronouncing sentence, Jones noted that Taylor tried to conceal the crime by cleaning the apartment after the murder, burying Crystal Reed’s body in a remote area and by hiding evidence.

Taylor has been in custody since his arrest in March 2017.

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