A Shirley woman testified Thursday that after a missing Medford woman’s phone records indicated the last person she was in touch with was her neighbor’s son, she began keeping tabs on him and even followed him a couple of times.
That man, Dante Taylor, 20, of Mastic, was later charged with first-degree murder. He is on trial in Riverhead, accused of raping and stabbing Sarah Goode, 21, more than 40 times in the early hours of June 7, 2014.
Delia McKernan, the Shirley woman who lives down the block from Taylor’s mother, was vague about a number of details. That vagueness, coupled with a lack of investigative notes by several Suffolk police detectives about information she provided, caused state Supreme Court Justice John Collins to delay her testimony by a day.
During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson, McKernan said Allaura Cicero, the girlfriend of her son, was close friends with Goode and that Goode’s phone was on the Cicero family account.
When Goode uncharacteristically didn’t respond on June 7 to a phone call or text from Cicero — McKernan wasn’t sure what it was — they looked at Goode’s phone records online.
From her dining room window, McKernan said she watched Taylor take things out of his car on June 8 and again a few days later. And then, around the time that Goode’s half-naked body was found June 12 in Medford, McKernan said she watched a car drive Taylor away with him crouched down in the back seat.
During cross-examination by defense attorney John Lewis Jr. of Farmingdale, McKernan was unclear about when Cicero pulled up Goode’s phone records and when on Sunday that she began studying Taylor. Nor did she know how Cicero identified the last number in contact with Goode as Taylor’s. She wasn’t sure what year she talked to police about her experience until Lewis showed her the statement she signed.
McKernan said she even followed Taylor out of the neighborhood twice.
“I thought it would lead me to Sarah,” who was still missing, McKernan said. “I followed him to a hero shop.”
The other time she followed him to an auto-parts store.
Earlier Thursday, Brandon Allen of Shirley testified about Goode’s last night out on June 6. He said his friend Jason Flores and Goode, a close friend of Flores, picked him up that night in her BMW and they hung out with a group of people in the street for a while. One of the people was Taylor, a friend of his, he said.
After a while, he said Flores and Goode came back to his place to smoke marijuana and watch “The Hobbit.” Taylor came by briefly and picked up two other friends who were there, but didn’t stay.
The next morning, Allen said he went to Smith Point Park with Flores and some others. Goode was supposed to go, but didn’t show up, he said. Later that day he hung out with Taylor. He told Lewis he noticed no blood or bloody clothes in Taylor’s car.
When it became clear Goode was missing, he volunteered to help search for her, but her family members soon became hostile to him. Lewis asked what happened.
“One family member grabbed me by the shirt, slammed me up against the car and threatened my life,” Allen said.