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Long IslandCrime

Dante Taylor bought shotgun hours after killing, prosecutor says

Dante Taylor is led out of the Sixth

Dante Taylor is led out of the Sixth Precinct in Selden for arraignment in Central Islip on July 12, 2014. Credit: James Carbone

The prosecutor in the case of the Mastic man charged with raping and killing a young Medford mother asked the judge Tuesday to reconsider his decision preventing the jury from hearing that the defendant bought a shotgun hours after the slaying.

Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson argued that although there’s nothing illegal about buying a shotgun, the timing of Dante Taylor’s purchase “shows consciousness of guilt.” Taylor, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sarah Goode, 21, in the early hours of June 7, 2014.

Albertson said Taylor’s purchase later that day was a reaction to what he did to Goode. “He’s either contemplating suicide or he knows the police are coming and he wants to protect himself,” she said.

She said she wanted to introduce cellphone evidence showing Taylor returning to the vicinity of the crime scene in Medford and buying the gun nearby. State Supreme Court Justice John Collins asked Albertson why she didn’t make this argument at a pretrial hearing when he ruled that Taylor’s use of the gun was inadmissible at trial because it was inflammatory and irrelevant.

Albertson said she had previously wanted to introduce evidence of Taylor aiming and firing the gun. But now, she said, she wanted to show why the timing of the purchase was important.

Defense attorney John Lewis Jr. of Farmingdale said Albertson’s argument was absurd. He noted that Taylor had other reasons to go to the Medford area and legally buy a gun.

“Mr. Taylor’s grandmother lives in that area,” Lewis said. “To say he’s going to the scene of the crime is ridiculous, and to say he was contemplating suicide is even more ridiculous.”

Collins said he would rule on the issue before trial testimony resumes Wednesday in Riverhead.

Earlier Tuesday, forensic scientist Clyde Wells of the Suffolk Crime Laboratory testified about evidence he received from Goode’s autopsy after her partially decomposed body was found June 12, 2014, in woods off a Medford cul-de-sac.

During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Opisso, Wells identified slitlike holes in several tank tops and a sweatshirt that Goode wore in layers the night she disappeared. Wells said the holes — on the left sleeve, the chest and the shoulder — were caused by a sharp instrument.

He noted that they lined up with each other and with some of the 43 stab wounds Goode suffered.

Wells also said he examined a piece of Goode’s skull that had a piece of metal embedded in it so deeply that he had to chip away the bone to get it out.

In photos displayed to the jury, the fragment — less than a half-inch long — appeared to be the tip of a serrated hunting knife.

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