The 23-year-old woman convicted of murdering a Spokane woman last summer, then dumping her body in a Stevens County lake, was sent to prison for nearly 30 years Friday.
Spokane Superior Court Judge Robert Austin ordered that sentence for Marcella Taylor, convicted in July along with former boyfriend Willie Richardson of killing Koralee Dixon, 23.
Deputy Prosecutor Dannette Allen asked Austin to hand down an even tougher sentence of 57 years for Taylor.
Taylor and Dixon shared an apartment last July when police say Taylor formed a plan to steal money from the other woman.
Police say she convinced Richardson, 20, to tie up Dixon and gag her, then take her money and jewelry.
Two weeks after her death, Dixon’s body was found in Red Lake, a bandanna in her mouth and duct tape covering her face and mouth.
In court, Dixon’s mother and father both asked Austin to give Taylor an exceptional sentence.
“She’s never shown any remorse for what she did,” said Linda Jacobsen, Dixon’s mother. “And she doesn’t deserve to be on the streets ever again.”
By state law, a felony murder results in a sentence ranging from 21 to 28.9 years in prison.
Before handing down the sentence, Austin said he was inclined to grant the exceptional sentence, but worried about an appeal.
Austin said the reasons Allen used to request an exceptional sentence were strong but not compelling.
“If it (a sentence beyond 29 years) was reversed, it would cause more harm to the family,” Austin said.
Taylor, standing before Austin in a short-sleeve, white print dress, insisted she was innocent of the crime.
She told her attorney, John Rodgers, she would file an immediate appeal through the public defender’s office.
Taylor never testified during the week-long trial. Richardson did testify, saying he had no hand in gagging or taping Dixon, but helped move the body out of Taylor’s house after the murder occurred.
He was convicted in the same jury trial and received a 30-year sentence because of a longer criminal record.
Before sentencing, Rodgers submitted a brief to the court in which Taylor again blamed Richardson for Dixon’s death. The brief also alleged that Taylor’s run-ins with the law reflected a troubled childhood.
In particular, said Rodgers, Taylor’s life was shattered after being raped by her uncle while she was a child.
Her criminal record includes convictions for car theft, burglary and assault.