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Homicide detective testifies in probable cause hearing on Dante Taylor murder case

A 2014 mug shot of Dante Taylor of

A 2014 mug shot of Dante Taylor of Mastic. The 20-year-old is charged with first-degree murder in Sarah Goode's death. Credit: SCPD

Suffolk detectives whisked away a Mastic man suspected in the disappearance of a young Medford mother for questioning last year, putting him in handcuffs yet not arresting him, a homicide detective testified Wednesday during a pretrial hearing.

Det. Guido Cirenza testified that although Dante Taylor, 20, was not under arrest, police handcuffed him for their protection, took possession of his car without permission and kept him at the Seventh Precinct in Shirley for eight hours without informing him of his rights on June 10, 2014. By then, Sarah Goode, 21, had been missing for three days after her blood-smeared car had been found in Medford. She had been raped and stabbed, her body found about a mile away on June 12.

Taylor is charged with first-degree murder. Cirenza testified during the second week of a pretrial hearing. At the end of it, state Supreme Court Justice John Collins will determine whether police had probable cause to arrest Taylor the following month and whether certain evidence they got from him is admissible at trial.

Defense attorney John Lewis Jr. argued briefly Wednesday that it is not. He said the June 10 encounter with police amounted to an illegal arrest and that fingerprints and DNA collected from Taylor therefore should be suppressed.

Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson has said she intends to use nothing gathered from the June 10 interrogation, but a second set of prints and DNA collected after the July arrest were taken properly.

Lewis disagreed. "Nothing that occurred in the July arrest can cure the taint of the June arrest," he said.

During cross-examination by Lewis, Cirenza said homicide detectives tracked Taylor to his mother's home in Mastic -- as did Goode family members and uniformed police officers. One of those officers handcuffed Taylor outside the house and put him in the back of a police car because of information Taylor had a shotgun in the trunk of his car, he said. Cirenza agreed with Lewis that it is no crime to have a shotgun in the trunk of a car.

During his eight hours at the precinct, Taylor refused to answer questions, but eventually did consent to the search of his car and his phone. There was no shotgun in the car, or anything tying him to Goode.

Cirenza denied threatening Taylor with arrest to get him to consent to the searches.

"Could you keep your voice down?" Collins asked Lewis as his questioning grew louder. "There's no jury here. You're giving me a headache."

"I'm giving myself a headache," Lewis replied.

Taylor faces life without parole if convicted.


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