UPDATE: Belvidere Street murder trial goes to jury

James Taylor Jr.
James Taylor Jr.

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The jury continues to deliberate into the night in the murder trial for James Taylor, Jr. They came to the judge saying they couldn't reach an agreement, but the judge sent them back to deliberate until they reached a verdict.

The jury began deliberations at 2:30 today in the trial of a man charged in the July murder of Billy Ennis III, who was driving down Belvidere Street when he was shot.

A Hanover family wants justice after their son was hit by a stray bullet and killed in downtown Richmond. The trial began Tuesday for the man accused of pulling the trigger, 18-year old James Taylor Jr.

The prosecution finished presenting its case after 6 p.m. Tuesday evening. Taylor's attorneys mounted his defense Wednesday morning. They were forced to counter the accused killer's videotaped confession the jury saw Tuesday.

The bullet that killed Billy Ennis could have hit anyone. He was driving on Belvidere Street toward the interstate to go home to Ashland. In court, accused killer James Taylor Jr. sat quietly listening to witnesses describe what went down that night.

So did Billy's father. At times he appeared visibly distraught, as he was when we spoke with him just days after his son's death.

"There was no sense in this," he told us then.

The Ashland man was not the intended target. The commonwealth's attorney maintains Taylor was shooting into a gray Cadillac and Ennis got caught in the crossfire.

The prosecution took up a large chunk of time showing video of detectives' interrogation of Taylor. It was broken into two sessions.

In the first, Taylor is heard repeating things like "I didn't fire a gun" while detectives continue to prod their suspect with statements like "you ain't helping yourself."

The second session took place shortly after a detective walked a friend of Taylor's past the interrogation room. That's when the 18-year-old confessed on the video.

He's heard explaining he shot at the Cadillac when it seemed someone in that vehicle had a gun. He cries and says "I didn't mean to shoot him."

Defense attorneys told NBC12 police pressured Taylor into a confession, only giving him two choices: confess to a lesser crime or go away for life.

The defense argues Richmond Police got the wrong guy. We're told Taylor will take the stand as part of that assertion Wednesday. Attorneys are expected to call several other witnesses.  Court is back in session at 8:45 a.m.

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