Fairfield police say death of murder suspect an apparent suicide
FAIRFIELD — Police say James Taylor, whose body was found Tuesday night in a storage container behind his son’s Bronson Road home, appears to have killed himself.
Taylor was charged with murder in the February death of his ex-wife, and had been confined by a court order to his son’s house. Police did not disclose just how Taylor died, but sources close to the investigation told Hearst Connecticut Media he appeared to have hanged himself.
Police said they went to the propery after his GPS monitoring bracelet went off around 5:16 p.m. and they exhausted all other means of contacting him. Officers heard a cell phone ringing inside a barricaded storage container in the backyard, and Taylor was found dead inside, Fairfield Police Capt. Robert Kalamaras said.
“Without the help of our mutual aid partners, we would not have been able to gain access to the storage container in the safest possible manner,” Kalamaras said. “We also appreciate the patience of the public who allows us to do our job in the most effective manner possible so that officers can go home safe to their families.”
Taylor’s attorney, assistant public defender Jared J. Millbrandt, released this statement, saying, “I was disheartened to learn that James Taylor reportedly took his own life yesterday. Mr. Taylor was presumed innocent of the charges in the matter where I represented him and remains cloaked in that presumption even now.”
Millbrandt also said there had been no standoff between Taylor and police on Tuesday night.
“Based on the information provided to me yesterday, I am fairly confident that Mr. Taylor was deceased by the time police first arrived at his home in the early evening and posed no threat to law enforcement or the public,” the attorney said.
“Finally, the James Taylor that I came to know during the course of my representation is entirely inconsistent with the person described in police and media reports in the pending matter,” Millbrandt said. “Yesterday’s events mark a tragic end to his life.”
On Tuesday night, police had surrounded the Bronson Road home where Taylor has been staying with his son, Bridgeport Board of Education member Chris Taylor, since posting bond in May. Chris Taylor said he was out of the state on Tuesday.
As they investigated, police closed parts of the road to the public. Residents were turned away as the Stamford Bomb Squad swept the area, according to Fox 61. Westport police were also reportedly surveying the area with a drone.
Taylor is accused of the shooting death of his ex-wife in February, and had been on GPS-monitored house arrest since being charged with murder, home invasion, criminal attempt to commit murder, first-degree burglary, illegal discharge of a firearm and third-degree assault.
Police said that on Feb. 3, Taylor broke into the home of his stepson, Donald Garamella, 45, on Catamount Road and fatally shot his ex-wife Catherine Taylor, 70, with a .22-caliber rifle. He was attempting to reload and shoot Garamella when the younger man tackled Taylor and managed to get the gun away, police said.
According to court documents, Chris Taylor posted his father’s $2 million bond through a bail bondsman. Per the terms of his release, he was not to go more than 500 feet from the Bronson Road house, with the exception of doctor’s appointments. He was also ordered to stay 2,500 feet away from his stepson’s home.
In June, a judge froze $5 million of James Taylor’s assets after he missed a court date. Taylor was also reportedly considering the use of the insanity defense in the fatal shooting of his ex-wife and alleged attempted killing of his stepson.
Staff writers Pat Tomlinson and Daniel Tepfer contributed to this report.