ELYRIA — Clarence Adams III and Austin Diaz beat Lamar “Mark” Taylor in a brutal attack and robbery that left the Lorain man dead, prosecutors argued during closing arguments Monday in Adams’ capital murder trial.
“They beat a man to death for a few baubles and left him in a front lawn like a piece of garbage,” Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Tony Cillo told the three-judge panel that will decide Adams’ fate.
But Kenneth Ortner, one of Adams’ defense attorneys, argued that there was no proof that his client was involved in a robbery or that there was a plan to kill Taylor, who was walking home from a night out with friends at a bar when he was attacked.
“This was a random act of violence. There was no prior calculation and design,” Ortner said.
He also argued that there was no proof that Adams was the principal offender in the attack, and that Taylor’s death was the result of the “cumulative effect” of injuries that caused him to bleed to death.
During the trial, witnesses said that Adams and Diaz, who is awaiting trial in the case, were out with three other men when the pair got out of the parked car they were in and began following Taylor.
Jose “Macho” Torres, one of those who was with Adams and Diaz, testified that he saw the two men hitting and punching Taylor. He said he saw Adams deliver a “field goal”-like kick to Taylor’s face.
Torres said he called out for the men to stop, but they threatened him to be quiet. Torres said he ran two blocks to his cousin’s house and breathlessly asked her to call 911.
Ortner questioned Torres’ perceptions, noting that Torres had known his client only a short time, it was dark outside and Torres hadn’t had his eyes checked in a long time. He also said Torres was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana.
As Torres fled, Cillo and Assistant County Prosecutor Laura Dezort said, Adams and Taylor continued to kick and hit Taylor, who managed to get within 100 feet or so of his house before the killing blows were delivered.
Cillo said bloody footprints matching Adams’ blood-soaked shoe told the story of the death blows. The blood and shoe acted as a stamp and ink pad, he said.
“Stomp. Back. Stomp. Back. Stomp. Back. Stomp. Back,” Cillo said, slamming his foot into the courtroom floor.
But Ortner said that state forensics experts couldn’t say for sure who left the bloody footprints. Both Diaz and Adams were wearing the same type of shoes, he said. Adams’ shoes were bloodier than Diaz’s, but Ortner said it was possible that Diaz had cleaned his shoes before he was arrested.
He also said there was no evidence that Adams had robbed Taylor.
Dezort countered that Torres had seen Adams patting around Taylor’s pockets and that the victim’s personal items were found strewn about the area and in the car the pair had been using that night.
She said that Adams and Diaz could have chosen to stop attacking Taylor any time they wanted to. Instead, Dezort said, they continued their assault.
“It is a senseless case,” she said.
The panel of judges began deliberations following closing arguments.