Death penalty to be sought against man accused of killing Cocoa mother

Suspect accused of kidnapping, shooting woman

COCOA, Fla. – The state attorney’s office filed notice this week that it plans to seek the death penalty against a man suspected of kidnapping a 31-year-old mother of four, then shooting her to death and leaving her body in a remote stretch of Osceola County, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

Prosecutors examining the case file prepared by Cocoa police said the actions of Joshua Taylor were ‘especially cruel and calculated’ to prevent Tashaun Jackson from testifying against him in another criminal case in which she was the victim.

A grand jury indicted Taylor, 30, on first-degree premeditated murder with a firearm, kidnapping while inflicting death, and possession of a firearm by felon charges in connection with the Feb. 9 death of Jackson. 

Jackson was reported missing Feb. 9 after she failed to return home during a quick errand to a nearby convenience store and a stop at McDonald’s. Cocoa police said Taylor, who completed a 12-year sentence in state prison for an unrelated carjacking charge last April, targeted Jackson she was cooperating as a witness against him in a burglary that took place at her home.

[RELATED: Cocoa police calling missing woman's case an active investigationBody of mother of 4 found, but questions remainFamily of dead mother addresses city of Cocoa]

Surveillance video showed Jackson at a 7-Eleven store, then leaving. Later, say police, Taylor found Jackson, got her into his car and then drove her to Osceola County. Police said Taylor shot the mother the same day.

Jackson's mother is now caring for the children. The family spoke out about the case, drawing attention to Taylor and Jackson's previous concerns about his behavior. 

Taylor remains held without bond at the Brevard County Jail in Sharpes. A court hearing on the case is set for July 23 at the Moore Justice Center in Viera.