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Police investigate possible connection to sniper in Tucson, Ariz., killing
By Beth DeFalco, Associated Press, 11/05/02
PHOENIX -- Police are taking a closer look at the slaying of a golfer in Tucson last March after learning that the suspects in the Washington-area sniper attacks were in town around the same time.
The FBI notified Tucson police last Friday that John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo arrived in mid-March to visit Muhammad's sister.
Jerry R. Taylor, 60, was shot March 19 while practicing chip shots at a golf course. He was felled by a single shot to the torso, said Assistant Police Chief Robert Lehner, and the wound indicates he was shot with a rifle from a distance. Taylor was practicing alone, and there were no witnesses to the shooting.
"Those were some of the things, combined with the time frame, that got the attention of investigators in Maryland," Lehner said.
Since their arrest Oct. 24, Muhammad and Malvo have been accused of shooting 17 people, killing 12 and wounding five in Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Taylor's widow said Tuesday she was shocked that her husband's murder might also be connected to the sniper spree.
But "it makes me feel like maybe I can get some closure," Beverly Taylor said from her home. "If they find his murder was linked to them, they will be punished and that's what I want."
Muhammad and Malvo came from Los Angeles to Tucson by bus. Lehner said they were in town the week before the homicide and probably the week of the killing. Muhammad's sister lived less than a mile from the golf course; she has since moved to New Orleans, police said.
At the time, police considered robbery a possible motive for the killing because something was taken from him. Police would not elaborate.
Beverly Taylor said that police told her a credit card was missing from her husband's wallet. The card was never used to make purchases, she said.
Police were unable to find a bullet, Lehner said. But on Tuesday, detectives were back at the golf course, scouring it for more evidence.
"We're going back over the crime scene with additional information and will make another very exhaustive effort," he said.