SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Vietnam veteran who beat his wife to death with a "police-style" flashlight while she slept in their Talmadge apartment was sentenced to 22 years in state prison on Friday.
Thomas Everett Taylor, 65, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the April 2, 2009, death of Brenda Martin-Taylor, who was hit at least five times in the head.
The defendant withdrew his insanity plea after doctors found he was found mentally competent to stand trial, said Deputy District Attorney Michelle Ialeggio.
A witness testified at a July 2009 hearing that on the morning the victim's body was discovered, he was awakened by the sound of breaking glass.
Gary Baker II testified that he looked around and saw the front window of Taylor's apartment shattered and furniture and other things thrown about.
Baker's roommate, Mark Blackshear, testified that he came home about 8 p.m. on April 1, 2009, and saw the defendant sitting on a utility box.
Blackshear said he went to his car and later saw Taylor mumbling to himself, pacing and holding a large black flashlight like the one police officers carry.
The next morning, Taylor was arrested after a struggle with police and taken to a hospital, where he told a nurse what happened to his wife.
"I bludgeoned her to death this morning," the defendant told the nurse.
According to police, Taylor said, "It was a good time tonight ... split her head," when he was arrested.
Officer Michael Brown testified the 58-year-old victim was found in her bed, under the covers with her head on a pillow and a sleep mask on her forehead.
A large black flashlight was found in the living room, Brown testified.
Taylor served at least one prison sentence in the 1970s and '80s for a homicide in Illinois, according to family members.
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