An investigation in the murder of an Alabama lawyer has taken a curious turn with the arrest of a 53-year-old Alexander City woman.
Teresa Baker Taylor was arrested on September 15 for solicitation of and conspiracy to commit murder. She is the sixth person to be arrested in the murder of Talladega lawyer Robert Blake Lazenby, whose body was found at his Sylacauga home in July 2011.
Taylor is identified as the girlfriend of Earnest James Files Jr., who reportedly worked as a landscaper for Lazenby's wife and was arrested in February.
Where does Teresa Baker Taylor fit into the picture? Here is how the Talladega Daily Home describes it:
According to Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens, Teresa Baker Taylor, 53, of Alexander City, was arrested Friday morning for solicitation of and conspiracy to commit murder
Her bond was set at $1 million by Circuit Judge Bo Hollingsworth.
Giddens said Taylor had been involved in a relationship with Earnest “L.A.” Files, Jr., and had represented herself as Lazenby’s wife. Files had also worked for Lazenby’s wife as a landscaper.
Blake and (Geanne) Lazenby were in the midst of a four-year divorce battle when he was killed.
Here is the complex picture that law-enforcement officials have painted for the crime:
According to testimony that has come out so far, about a year before the murder, Files, 56, approached Calvin McCall Haynes, 30, and asked him to kill his girlfriend’s husband for $85,000. In a recorded statement played at Files’ preliminary hearing, Haynes said Files and a white woman with two children had approached him and offered him the cash on the scene. The woman was allegedly Taylor, even though she claimed to be Mrs. Lazenby, Giddens said.
Haynes said he did not want any part of the murder himself, but mentioned it to Ocie Lee Lynch, 30. Lynch in turn approached Charles Andrew Joseph Hendricks, 21, and Jeremy Lee Cade, 22.
Lynch and Hendricks are each charged with capital murder during the commission of a burglary, and Hendricks faces an additional charge of theft of property in the first degree in connection with the theft of Lazenby’s vehicle, which was burned out and abandoned in Cahaba.
Cade was charged with theft of property in the first degree and receiving stolen property, also in connection with the theft of the vehicle.
Lynch and Haynes are also charged with solicitation of and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the case.
The Taylor arrest is surprising in at least a couple of ways. I've seen no references to her in my review of the Lazenby divorce file, and she seems to have little connection to the family--other than the peculiar assertion that she has represented herself as Blake Lazenby's wife.
How and why would Taylor represent herself as Blake Lazenby's wife? From the two passages in bold above, that apparently is based on the testimony of Calvin McCall Haynes. He reports seeing a white woman and two children with Files when they approached him about a plan to kill Blake Lazenby.
Quite a few people who have followed the Lazenby case--and my blog gets a lot of traffic about it--seemed to assume the woman with Files was Geanne Lazenby. But officials now say it was Teresa Baker Taylor, posing as Ms. Lazenby.
Were the number of children present a key factor? The Lazenbys have one child, a daughter named Madeline. Does Ms. Taylor have two or more children?
That is just one of many questions that continue to swirl around the Blake Lazenby case.