Crystal Taylor Murder – The “One Moment” episode of NBC’s “Dateline“ initially aired on September 18, 2020. It focused on the murder of Crystal Taylor and the following investigation and trial.
The episode featured interviews with Crystal’s family members, law enforcement officials, and prosecutors involved in the case.
Throughout the episode, viewers were given a detailed look at the evidence against the killer and the legal arguments made by both the prosecution and the defense. The episode also explored the impact of Taylor’s murder on her family and the community, the more significant issues of violence against women, and the challenges law enforcement faces in investigating and prosecuting such crimes.
Overall, the “One Moment” episode of “Dateline” provided a powerful and thought-provoking look at the tragedy of Crystal Taylor’s murder and the efforts of those who worked to bring her killer to justice.
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Who Was Crystal Taylor and Who Killed Her?
Crystal Taylor was born on January 14, 1974, in Galveston County, Texas. She was described as a kind and loving person who was very close to her family. At the time of her murder, she was working as a dental assistant and was engaged to be married.
In April 1998, Crystal Williamson was attacked by a knife-wielding assailant while pregnant with Derek’s child. Despite being 7-8 months along at the time, both she and the unborn child managed to escape without harm. Later in her third trimester with Derek’s child again, an unknown man knocked her to the ground and punched her stomach multiple times; again, both mother and child managed to remain unscathed.
On September 25, 2001, 27-year-old Crystal left her apartment in Hawthorne en route to work when she and her 22-week unborn child were tragically shot and killed by an unknown assailant inside the complex.
After conducting an investigation, authorities learned Crystal and her boyfriend Derek had disagreed about whether to keep the child. Although investigators suspected Derek of involvement, they could find no concrete evidence against him or anyone else for that matter. The case remained unsolved for a decade until Los Angeles detectives approached Skyler Jefferson Moore (an alleged hitman already serving a life sentence) in 2011. He confessed to the murder and revealed Derek hired him to carry it out. Derek was then arrested and charged with both Crystal’s death and that of their unborn child.
Derek Smyer was found guilty of multiple charges by a jury consisting of six men and six women. He was convicted of second-degree murder for the death of Crystal Taylor and first-degree murder of Jeremiah Johnson Taylor’s fetus. Additionally, two counts of soliciting murder and one conspiracy to commit a crime were added to his conviction list.
The jury also decided that a special circumstance of financial gain existed for the murder of the fetus but not Taylor’s killing, and there was an allegation of multiple murders.
Derek Smyer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after these convictions. A separate jury found Skyler Moore, the alleged gunman, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy; as he already served a life sentence without parole for an unrelated 2001 killing, Moore could now face the death penalty.
Derek Smyer is currently serving his life sentence in California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran, Kings County, California. Thanks to the justice system’s efforts in this case, Crystal Taylor’s family members and loved ones can finally find some closure.
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