Fairfield man charged in ex-wife’s death bailed out by son
BRIDGEPORT - Accused killer James Taylor was being released Tuesday to live with his son, Bridgeport Board of Education member Chris Taylor - in Fairfield.
Following a hearing Tuesday morning, Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin allowed the 75-year-old Taylor to post his $2 million bond on the condition that he live at his son’s Bronson Road home under house arrest.
The order adds to the controversy over where Chris Taylor actually lives. For the purposes of continuing to serve on the Board of Education, he has insisted he lives in a makeshift apartment on property he owns on Davenport Street in Bridgeport. To support this, he even gave a Hearst Connecticut Media reporter a tour of what he said were his living quarters there.
But James Taylor’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Jared Millbrandt, told Judge Devlin on Tuesday that Chris Taylor lives at the Bronson Road address in Fairfield and that his client would be living there as well when released on bond.
James Taylor is charged with murder, home invasion, criminal attempt to commit murder, first-degree burglary, illegal discharge of a firearm and third-degree assault for allegedly fatally shooting his ex-wife.
Police said that around 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 3, James Taylor broke into the home of his stepson, Donald Garamella, 45, on Catamount Road and fatally shot Catherine Taylor, 70, with a .22-caliber rifle. He was attempting to reload and shoot Garamella when, police said, the younger man tackled Taylor and managed to get the gun away.
According to court documents, Chris Taylor is posting his father’s $2 million bond through a bail bondsman. Generally, that means that Chris Taylor has to pay the bail bondman 10 percent of the bond, or $200,000. Court documents show that Christopher Taylor’s company, ACG Contracting LLC, is bankrupt.
Chris Taylor was not in court on Tuesday. Last week, he tried to post his Davenport Street property for his father’s bond but that effort appeared doomed when Devlin noted that the property had been appraised by the city at $635,000.
Criminal defendants don’t usually have to come into court to post surety or bonds through bail bondsmen, however in this case Devlin insisted James Taylor appear before him first.
“This man is here on a $2 million bond and is represented by a public defender; I believe that deserves special attention,” the judge said.
In addition to the house arrest, Devlin ordered James Taylor to wear a GPS monitoring anklet and not to go more than 500 feet from the Bronson Road house with the exception of doctor’s appointments. He must also stay 2,500 feet from the home of his stepson.
Christopher Taylor’s lawyer, Mark Balaban, told the judge that his client has a pistol permit but will not keep a gun at his home in Fairfield while his father is living there.
Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Corradino told the judge he had reservations about Taylor being released on bond, pointing out that the day before the murder, James Taylor withdrew a substantial amount of money, telling a bank teller that he was going to Costa Rica.
But Millbrandt told the judge that his client has an expired passport.
Devlin added that Taylor cannot apply for a new passport and continued the case to May 22.