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Dante Taylor gets life without parole in Sarah Goode murder

Dante Taylor, inside Judge John Collins' courtroom at

Dante Taylor, inside Judge John Collins' courtroom at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Friday, July 29, 2016. Taylor was sentenced to life without parole for killing Sarah Goode. Credit: James Carbone

A Suffolk judge Friday sentenced the “evil man” who brutally murdered a young Medford mother — stabbing her more than 40 times — to life without parole.

“You may make chalk marks on the cellblock and your walls in the cage in which you will live, and they will have no significance,” State Supreme Court Justice John Collins told Dante Taylor, 21, of Mastic. “ ... They will mean nothing, because there is no date for you to get out.”

For the victim’s family and friends, who packed the Riverhead courtroom, the maximum punishment was long-awaited justice. A few cheered as the sentence was imposed.

Last month, a jury convicted Taylor of first-degree murder and attempted rape in the slaying of Sarah Goode, 21, on June 7, 2014. Days later, her body was found in a wooded area near her car, abandoned not far from her home.

One of the key pieces of evidence against Taylor was his bloody palm print on the hood of Goode’s BMW. During the attack, Taylor stabbed Goode so violently that the tip of the blade broke off in her skull, prosecutors said.

In court Friday, Elizabeth Goode, 58, recalled the horror of her daughter’s death.

“Sarah was my youngest child, my last baby ... It is unspeakable to me to fathom burying your child in a grave,” she said. “That was my grave.”

The Medford woman said she is raising Sarah’s daughter Jocelyn, who recently graduated from kindergarten and closely resembles her mother.

One of the victim’s sisters, Samantha Murphy, told the court she wanted Taylor to get the stiffest sentence possible “for Sarah, and for the would-be victims of this waste of oxygen.”

“We will never be able to erase the images of what has happened to Sarah. ... She was brutalized and tortured,” Murphy, 32, of Columbus, Ohio.

Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson also sought life without parole. “There is no redeeming Dante Taylor, as the family alluded to,” she said.

But defense attorney John Lewis Jr., of Farmingdale, asked the judge to give Taylor, who briefly served in the Marines, a glimmer of hope.

“Nobody, your honor, in our world is beyond redemption,” Lewis said. “And nobody, your honor, should be written off.”

Collins wasn’t swayed.

Calling the evidence against Taylor overwhelming, the judge told the defendant: “There is no doubt that you are Sarah’s murderer.”

Before handing down the sentence, the judge cited a line from one of the many letters he’d received from Goode’s family. It reads: “It is so loud, her absence. It is deafening.”

Taylor declined to address the court and showed little visible reaction to the sentence. His relatives would not talk to reporters as they left the courthouse.

Lewis had argued at trial that Taylor had consensual sex with Goode the night of the slaying, and that someone else came along and killed her.

During the trial, a forensic scientist testified that semen was found on genital swabs and other material taken from Goode’s body during the autopsy, and that the DNA matched Taylor’s.

The case, however, was marred by a series of police blunders. Investigators first questioned Taylor without reading him his rights and searched his car without a warrant, the judge determined after a pretrial hearing.

Collins later found that prosecutors illegally withheld from the defense a series of Crime Stoppers tips pointing to other possible suspects and destroyed a threatening voice mail message from the boyfriend with whom Goode had just split.

When the Goode family arrived at the courthouse Friday, they all took note of the heavy rain that was falling.

“We said ‘that’s tears from heaven,’’’ Albertson said. “And when you looked outside the window after the statements and after the sentence, those tears have stopped.

“Sarah got her justice,” she added, “and the skies are blue again.”


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