Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - Friday, March 22, 2013
Author/Byline: RUMMANA HUSSAIN ; Criminal Courts
When Patricia Howard realized she was standing next to the cousin of the taxi driver her son is accused of fatally shooting, she looked him in the eye and repeatedly told him she was sorry.
“I didn’t raise him like that,” the mother of six said Friday in a trembling voice before the tall man gently hugged Howard. “This shouldn’t have happened.”
Howard and the mother of Eric Taylor’s 2-month-old baby said while Taylor isn’t an angel, they don’t think he is capable of pulling the trigger as Cook County prosecutors said he did on the night of the March 14.
But they do believe Taylor was “peer pressured” by another man, who Taylor’s girlfriend said is her relative.
Taylor was shot in the face when he was 15 and, as a result, has the mental capacity of child, the women said.
“This was not his idea. This wasn’t an idea he planned,” the girlfriend said after Taylor was ordered held without bail for Edwin Obazuaye ’s murder at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
“He would never kill nobody.”
But assistant state’s attorney Melissa Samp said Taylor, 28, had summoned Obazuaye to his apartment in the 8500 block of South Parnell with the intention of robbing and shooting him.
Within minutes after entering Obazuaye ’s Ford Explorer taxi, Taylor and the other man demanded Obazuaye ’s money, Samp said.
Obazuaye refused, looking for a police officer when Taylor, sitting directly behind Obazuaye , allegedly pistol-whipped the cabbie and struck him in the head.
Taylor, currently on parole for a 2007 armed robbery and carjacking, then broke the driver’s side window and fired the gun through the driver’s seat, strikingObazuaye in the back, Samp said.
Obazuaye ’s car slowly rolled through the intersection of 91st and Lafayette before coming to a stop.
Taylor and the other man, who were unable to open the doors because the child locks were activated, crawled through the broken window of the car and fled, Samp said. Taylor allegedly still had the weapon in his hand.
As he was being rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Obazuaye , 48, told authorities he had been robbed in his taxi.
He suffered a heart attack and died four days later while being treated for his wound.
Taylor allegedly admitted to detectives his role in the murder. He also said he cut his hand while coming out of the cab and identified items that had been left in the rear seat of the taxi, Samp said.
Taylor, who was wearing a Yale jacket in court Friday, continually looked back at his family as prosecutors detailed the crime.
His girlfriend made a shape of a heart with her fingers through the glass.
Taylor is “not a bad person. He just got caught with the wrong person,” said the girlfriend, who didn’t want her name used.
“I’m confused. I’m hurt. It’s like a bad nightmare,” Howard said following Friday’s hearing.
Obazuaye ’s cousin refused comment.