Taylor pleads no contest to rape and voluntary manslaughter

By Katherine Wartell

Justin Taylor pleaded no contest in Riley County District Court Tuesday to the 2011 voluntary manslaughter of Kevin Cockrum and the 2010 rape of a 57-year-old Manhattan woman.

Taylor, 25, a Kansas State University student, was initially charged with the intentional second degree murder of Cockrum, a former combat medic who was found beaten and unconscious in an Aggieville alleyway on Aug. 11, 2011, but the charge was reduced to voluntary manslaughter as a part of his plea deal.

Taylor was charged for the 2010 rape on Feb. 22, 2012. Assistant County Attorney Barry Disney said that DNA from the crime scene of the rape was able to be matched to Taylor once he was arrested for the murder of Cockrum.

Taylor’s sentencing is scheduled for May 18 at 9 a.m. He is represented by Larry McRell, Chief Public Defender for the North Central Regional Public Defender’s Office

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