Roosevelt County Man Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison

Press Release: from Matthew Chandler, 9 th Judicial District Attorney of New Mexico

As a result of the guilty plea agreement and convictions, Donald Taylor was sentenced to spend the rest of his natural life in federal prison.  Donald Taylor's case was determined by the United States Attorney General to be eligible for the death penalty under the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines, but as an exchange for the "natural life in prison sentence" the United States Government withdrew its Notice of Intent to Seek a Sentence of Death.

By entering into the plea agreement, Donald Taylor admitted that on "June 6, 2005, as a prospective member of the Aryan Brotherhood (AB), he conspired with another (allegedly co-defendant Billy Joe Watson) to obtain anhydrous ammonia to manufacture methamphetamine for the AB.  In exchange, Donald Taylor was asked specifically to make Causey, NM resident Jimmy Chunn "turn up missing."  Donald Taylor interpreted this as a request by Billy Joe Watson to kill Mr. Chunn.

On July 4, 2005, Donald Taylor knelt down in the driveway of Mr. Chunn's residence and used a .30-.30 rifle to shoot Mr. Chunn, who was seated in a chair in his living room.

Three days later, Donald Taylor returned to Mr. Chunn's house, and found that Mr. Chunn was dead but had not yet been discovered.  Donald Taylor then stole Mr. Chunn's wallet as well as money and several firearms.  On July 8, 2005, Donald Taylor was arrested for a parole violation by law enforcement pursuant to the investigation." (See Attached United States Plea Agreement for further admissions by Taylor)

Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler received an appointment from the United States Attorney's Office to act as a "Special Appointed Assistant United States Attorney" in the case and assisted lead counsel United States Attorney Gregory Fouratt and Assistant United States Attorney Jack Burkhead in the prosecution of the case against Donald Taylor.

Matthew Chandler stated, "It is our hope that the family of Mr. Chunn has received some closure and justice in the fact that Taylor will spend the rest of his natural life in federal prison.  It obviously does not bring back their loved one, but the government has held the triggerman responsible for his actions and now can turn its full focus to co-defendant Billy Joe Watson who allegedly ordered this murder with hopes to soon resolve his case as well."

Co-defendant Billy Joe Watson, who is also facing the death penalty for allegedly contracting to commit murder with Donald Taylor, has a Roosevelt County trial date set for January 25 through March 5, 2010.

For further information concerning this case, please see the attached United States Plea Agreement for additional background information on Donald Taylor's admissions or contact the Ninth Judicial District Attorney's Office.