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Trial set for man accused of abuse, plan to kill witnesses

July 9, 2021 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Trial has been set for a former suburban St. Louis teaching assistant accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old student, then conspiring to kill the boy and his mother.

Deonte Taylor’s trial was set for Aug. 9 on Thursday after plans for him to plead guilty to charges in the case fell through, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Taylor is charged with three counts of sodomy, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of tampering with a witness in a felony prosecution.

Prosecutors have said Taylor, 38, was a teaching assistant with the Hazelwood School District in 2015 when he took the child out of class and sexually assaulted him. Months later, Taylor and his boyfriend conspired to murder the boy and his mother to keep them from testifying against Taylor, investigators said.

Prosecutors have said that Taylor’s boyfriend, Michael Johnson, gave money to someone he thought was a hitman, but was actually a confidential police informer, to have the boy and his mother killed. Johnson is also charged in the case, which is still pending.