As previously reported by NewsOne, Taylor gained notoriety when a video of him being beaten by his uncle went viral in January of 2011.
“It was love and I wanted to really show that he’s not a gang member. I was not only going on his [Facebook] walls, I was searching his friend’s walls also,” said Uncle Lamoine Ward in an interview following his nephew’s murder.
“So, I was frightened about what could happen to my family. I was led by the right spirit when I did it but now the enemy is twisting it in my head like I did something wrong,” Ward continued. “Like, maybe I drew some extra attention to make him feel like he needed to prove to these people he’s not soft. I regret maybe not being a part of his life a little bit more after the video.”
Taylor’s mother, Kimberly Ward, admitted that her son was picked on after the video went viral, but said that she wasn’t angry at her brother:
“I’m hurt. I’m not angry. But I’m hurt. I’m hurt, my boy was my world,” she said.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Julienwas charged with second-degree murder, but by pleading guilty to manslaughter he now faces 30 years as opposed to life in prison.
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The teenager was lured from his Terrytown apartment through text messages sent to his phone. Two gunmen shot him dead near the intersection of Deerfield and Daniels roads. That’s where Jefferson Parish deputies found his body.
Taylor was shot with two different types of bullets. The second gunman has never been identified.
In the courtroom Wednesday, Taylor’s mother and aunt pleaded with Julien for an explanation. “Why? What did Michael do?” asked his mother, Kimberly Ward. “What was it I could have done to change what you did?”
Her sister, Tiffany Ward, also was perplexed. “Why? Why? Why do we have to go to sleep without Michael?” she asked Julien. “Why do we have to wake up without Michael?”
The prosecutors, Jimmy Myers and Rachel Luck Africk, and Julien’s public defenders haggled over a plea deal on Tuesday, even as jury selection was underway. Julien was agreeable to pleading guilty to the other charges but was hesitant to admit to the killing.
He changed his mind Wednesday morning. In accepting the plea, Sullivan asked Julien to recite what he did. “I participated in the homicide of the victim,” Julien said. He said only that he used “a gun.” For manslaughter, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison, 10 years short of the maximum for that charge.
Julien also pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin and possession with intent to distribute heroin. He said those charges stem from his selling heroin to an undercover narcotics agent. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for each charge.