Two Jury Trials, Two Different Results in Cass Co.

By Benjamin Cox on April 26, 2023 at 11:46am

Two similar cases in Cass County Court had two very different outcomes last week.

Last Monday, 46 year old Troy L. Taylor of Beardstown faced a jury trial on charges of methamphetamine delivery less than 5 grams and possession of methamphetamine less than 5 grams. Taylor was arrested by Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies on the charges on January 23rd and has remained at the Schuyler County Jail.

Troy Taylor (Schuyler County Jail)

A jury was seated at 10:45 on Monday morning. After a brief lunch recess, the state called three deputies from the Cass County Sheriff’s Department detailing an arranged controlled buy through an informant to investigate Taylor in December. The state next called two evidence technicians and two forensic science chemists from the Illinois State Police crime lab in Springfield before resting their case in chief at approximately 3PM Monday. The defense called no witnesses before the case was handed to the jury at 4PM. Deliberations lasted approximately 45 minutes before finding Taylor guilty on all counts.

He is due to be sentenced on May 22nd.

On the following day, the state conducted a similar jury trial in the case against 39 year old Joshua A. Cape of Canton. Cape was charged with a single count of methamphetamine delivery after an arrest by Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies in March of last year.

Cass County State’s Attorney Craig Miller says a similar situation occurred from the Taylor case in which deputies set up a controlled buy through an informant, but Cape was eventually acquitted by the jury: “There are a lot of factors that go into a case, and you’ll never know why a jury decides what they do. My best guess is the controlled purchase was in a common area and there were some discrepancies with how the police performed the controlled buy and also how the informant testified. I think all of those things and probably some other factors are why the jury decided their verdict the way they did.”

Miller says the credibility of the informant was also a possible question on the jurors’ minds: “Generally, there are 3 types of controlled buys. As you see on TV, police officers can go undercover and do that. In small communities like our own, once that individual performs a controlled buy, that’s it. They are kind of burnt – everybody knows who that police officer is from now on. Informants also can be paid money for their work, or as in this case, they are working off charges of their own that have been brought against them. The jury will hear how this informant was signed up. They heard in this specific case that this individual was working off charges that they had of their own. They did tell the jury that they struggle with drug addiction and they do have a methamphetamine problem. That might be one reason that the jury did what they did. We will never know. They could have looked at them and decided that they were not credible. There was no audio and video in this case of the specific controlled buy. I think having that type of evidence will help in the future – having any sort of video or audio of controlled purchases.”

In Cape’s case, the jury took approximately 15 minutes to come by the ‘not guilty’ verdict.