DeSoto Woman Receives Three Years For Manslaughter

Donald Taylor murder
Judge Teresa Hawthorne hears opening statements concerning the death of Donald Taylor. (Charles Mannie Jr./Artist)

DESOTO — Judge Teresa Hawthorne calls it one of the strangest court proceedings on record. DeSoto resident Sharon Hennington-Taylor, 57, was handed three years for the 2017 death of her husband Donald Taylor.

Originally charged with murder, the 57-year-old network analyst had her charges reduced to manslaughter during the two week trial. Thursday, Judge Hawthorne sentenced Taylor to three years in prison with no monetary fine.

Defense attorneys Cody Skipper and Mark Watson immediately indicated that they would seek an appeal.

Hennington-Taylor claims she shot her husband, Donald Taylor, 58, in self-defense. It was during an incident last April in their DeSoto home. Taylor says she did it because she said he was physically abusing her.

Jury Deliberations

The 203rd District Court judge read the sentence at the end of the day after the jury took several hours to decide on the punishment.

Sharon Hennington Taylor
Sharon Hennington Taylor

Before the jury returned to the courtroom, they asked for the transcript of Hennington-Taylor’s interview with police after her arrest. There was no transcript, however the video was made available to the jury to watch.

Attorneys Skipper and Watson made a point that the video had not been entered as evidence, but too late. In the end, both sides had already agreed to allow the jurors access to view the video.

Appeals and Mistrials

In another Thursday development, before jurors returned to the courtroom Skipper and Watson called for a mistrial. The mistrial motion came down due to alleged improper questioning during the trial by the prosecution. Watson asked that the entire trial be overturned.

Judge Hawthorne denied the motion.

There will be an appeal. The state said they would not agree to the appeal bond.

However, after deliberating overnight, Hawthorne granted Hennington-Taylor’s bond while the appeal is in process. According to attorneys, with the court schedule being in a constant state of backlog, it could be years before this case is settled.