Kalila Taylor's unexplained injury questioned

A handout image of Kalila Taylor who is

A handout image of Kalila Taylor who is being tried in the 1996 killing of Curtisha Morning. (Credit: SCPD/Handout)

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The woman charged with hacking a Riverhead High School homecoming queen to death had an explanation for every scar, bite mark and scratch on her except for one, a retired homicide detective testified Thursday.

When Kalila Taylor, now 35, was first arrested in April 1996 for the killing of Curtisha Morning, 17, she denied doing it, Det. Vincent Stephan said during testimony before state Supreme Court Justice William Condon.

Taylor is being tried a second time after an appellate court reversed her 1999 murder conviction because of faulty jury instructions. This trial was delayed because Taylor was not competent to be tried while being treated for paranoid schizophrenia.

After that arrest in 1996, Stephan said he asked her about various marks, and Taylor told him which fights caused which injuries. The only one she couldn't explain was a slice mark on her right thumb, and Stephan said he believed it could have been caused when her blood-soaked hand slipped while stabbing Morning 94 times in a jealous frenzy.

Morning had just started dating the father of Taylor's child.

During cross-examination by defense attorney John LoTurco, Stephan said his goal "sure was" to get a confession from Taylor. Police eventually let her go that day.

"The reason you released her was because you didn't get a confession, isn't that right?" LoTurco asked.

"That's not totally true, sir," Stephan replied.

Police arrested her again the following year after forensic testing found Taylor's DNA on Morning's boots and linked Taylor to a necklace found at the crime scene.

After releasing her, Stephan said he followed up Taylor's explanations for her various stab wounds and bite marks.

During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson, he said he found police reports and medical records showing she sought help for every significant wound except for one.

The slice mark was her only injury without medical records or a police report. Stephan said he asked Taylor about it.

"She had no explanation for that injury," he said.

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