- The Washington Times - Monday, November 12, 2001

PITTSBURGH (AP) A black man was sentenced to death yesterday for killing three white men in a racially motivated shooting rampage in suburban Pittsburgh.
Ronald Taylor, 41, was convicted in the March 1, 2000, spree that began at his Wilkinsburg, Pa., apartment and continued at two nearby restaurants. Prosecutors said Taylor targeted whites.
The jury, which took two days to reach its decision, had just one other option sentencing Taylor to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Defense lawyers had argued that Taylor, who was unemployed and receiving disability checks at the time of the killings, was insane and had delusions that whites were persecuting him and other minorities.
Public defender Lisa Middleman asked the jury to spare Taylor's life, arguing they should show compassion because of his mental state.
Prosecutors reminded jurors that Taylor had methodically targeted whites, even telling a black woman that she was safe because he only meant to shoot whites. A psychiatrist who testified for Taylor said he "had an awareness" that killing was considered wrong.
During the trial, prosecutors showed jurors copies of profanity-laced hate writings found in Taylor's apartment; the writings railed at whites, Jews and homosexuals. One said, "Jesus Christ made a very big, costly mistake by putting white trash people on the face of the earth."
The spree began when Taylor fatally shot worker John Kroll, 55, after getting angry at workers who were fixing a door at his apartment.
Then, Taylor walked to the fast-food restaurants, killing two other men and injuring two others.
After the shootings, Taylor went to a nearby office building and threatened to kill other white people there. After a two-hour standoff, he surrendered to police.
In May, an Allegheny County jury convicted and sentenced to death Richard Baumhammers, an unemployed white lawyer who killed his Jewish neighbor, a black man and men from China, India and Vietnam.


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