By Megan Cerullo:
A murder suspect who for nearly 40 years eluded authorities was arrested Thursday, FBI officials said.
The 67-year-old fugitive, William Claybourne Taylor, was part of a botched 1977 plot to assassinate a former Florida mayor. Instead of slaying his target, the gunman shot and killed a former Immigration and Naturalization Service official, leaving the small town politician wounded.
Taylor was apprehended in Reidsville, N.C., where he’d been living under an alias, according to an FBI news release.
According to The Gainesville Sun, in 1980, Taylor’s older brother, Raymond Ellis Taylor Jr., a Chattanooga, Tenn. assistant district attorney, was convicted of masterminding the plot. Both Taylors and a third accomplice were accused of planning to collect legal fees by representing the former mayor’s family in his assassination.
When the third man testified against Ray Taylor in exchange for a manslaughter conviction, he received a 15 year probation sentence.
William Taylor — whose wanted poster identifies him as a dance instructor, trumpet player, convenience store clerk, keypunch operator, painter and welder — was arrested the same year on charges of murder and aggravated battery. When released in Tennessee on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond, he unlawfully fled to avoid prosecution.
Taylor’s wanted poster also describes him as a heavy-drinking bisexual who sometimes wore a mustache and was known to dye his hair red.
“William Claybourne Taylor thought he could avoid taking responsibility for this horrible crime, but our agents continued an exhaustive search year after year,” said special agent Michelle S. Klimt in a news release. “To echo the words of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, ‘the FBI always gets its man.’
Taylor is being held in the Guilford County, North Carolina detention center, according to the FBI’s release.