Taylor A. Hall, 19, has been charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder, relating to two men he allegedly shot at six times on Wednesday night, along with a count of conspiring to deliver marijuana.
The allegations, as described in court documents from prosecutors, are that Hall had a falling out with 32-year-old Joshua Porter over drugs they’d recently purchased in Seattle. Porter threw Hall out of his Bleistein Avenue residence, allegedly spurring Hall to then fire a pistol round through the front door and chase Porter and another man, Joseph Jewell, out the back door to their truck. As they sped away, Hall is alleged to have fired five rounds into their vehicle.
“Certainly, by allegations only at this point, short of actual homicide itself, the state can’t think of much more serious crimes than those denoted in this case,” said Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric in Circuit Court on Friday. The prosecutor noted the number of shots allegedly fired and their direction.
“Drugs and firearms do not mix, and for a very good reason,” said Skoric, asking for the $500,000 figure.
Nick Beduhn, who will be Hall’s court-appointed attorney, did not object to the bond recommendation at Friday’s hearing. Beduhn said bond could be re-addressed at the preliminary hearing, tentatively scheduled for this Friday.
Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters accepted Skoric’s recommendation. A short time later, Waters similarly adopted Skoric’s recommendation to hold Porter on a $25,000 cash bond for a felony charge of conspiring to deliver a controlled substance. Porter, who’s alleged to have taken nearly a pound and a half of marijuana while he fled the residence, reacted with profanity and obscenity to the judge’s decision (see related story).
Charging documents contain allegations that Hall had a physical altercation with Porter prior to the shooting, but Jewell appears to have essentially been a bystander.
Neither Porter nor Jewell contacted police after the incident, the affidavit indicates; concerned residents in the neighborhood reportedly called it in around 7 p.m. Wednesday.
When contacted by police, Porter said Hall had shown up at the Bleistein Avenue residence — where Porter was living with his girlfriend — seeking to stash his marijuana there, wrote Cody Police Sgt. Detective Jon Beck in an affidavit.
“Porter said that he became angry, told Hall to get the drugs out of his house, and threw Hall out the front door of his residence,” Beck wrote of Porter’s account. Hall then began firing a pistol, prompting Porter and Jewell — who’d just shown up — to flee, Porter said.
Jewell initially told police the same story, but ultimately said that was a lie Porter had come up with, Beck wrote.
Jewell said he’d gone to the residence that evening to buy marijuana from Porter and found him arguing with Hall, the affidavit says.
Shortly after that, Jewell heard the front door glass break and a gun shot and fled, Beck wrote.
Colton Perkins, a friend of Hall’s, also at the home at the time of the incident, reportedly told police that Porter and Hall had threatened to shoot each other during the argument. Perkins didn’t remember specifics, but said the dispute was over drugs and money, Beck wrote.
Hall and Perkins both told police that Porter had choked Hall before throwing him out of the house.
When Hall came running back into the residence with a pistol, “Hall was yelling he was going to kill Porter,” Perkins told Beck.
Hall chased Porter and Jewell out the back door and Perkins heard more gunshots, the affidavit says. As Jewell and Porter jumped into the truck and sped off, Hall came out the back door firing, the two men both recalled to police.
Police found five spent rounds by the alleyway door.
Beck said all five shots hit the truck, with two bullets ending up in the vehicle’s cab.
At the Bleistein Avenue home, police found a .38-caliber pistol on the kitchen counter and signs of a struggle, Beck wrote. Police found a small amount of marijuana, a blood spot and broken items strewn about on the kitchen floor.
A bullet had been fired through the front door, into the living room, through a cushioned chair and into a hallway wall, Beck wrote. That’s where police recovered the round, court documents say.
Porter allegedly grabbed nearly a pound and a half of marijuana on his way out the door, stashing it behind a friend’s house at the Riverside Trailer Park. That’s where police later seized it, Beck wrote, divided up into roughly one-ounce bags.
Hall was arrested early Thursday morning. He told police that he, Porter and Perkins had recently traveled to Seattle to buy marijuana, cocaine and hallucinogenic mushrooms, returning earlier that day, the affidavit says.
Hall told police he had not fired any shots and did not own a pistol, though he later admitted he’d had one about a week before the incident, Beck said.
At Hall’s residence, police reportedly seized a small amount of marijuana, a miscellaneous ledger and $456 in cash. While staking out Hall’s home, police ended up pulling over Hall’s 17-year-old brother, Ryan Hall, early Thursday morning and cited him for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The younger Hall reportedly had volunteered he had a marijuana pipe in the Grand Am, charging documents say. Ryan Hall was released on his own recognizance on Friday.
The charges against Taylor Hall allege he attempted “purposely and maliciously” to kill both Porter and Jewell.
Second degree murder differs from first degree murder in that it does not involve premeditation on the part of the individual.
The offense is punishable by a minimum of 20 years in prison up to as much as a life sentence.
Alleged victim flips out in court
Joshua Porter began his Friday appearance in Cody’s Circuit Courtroom respectfully enough. The 32-year-old Cody resident corrected himself to say he’d done yard work and “stuff” instead of the expletive he’d used and laughed with Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters about not having a bank account.
But he soured on the proceeding when Park County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Skoric — citing Porter’s brief five months in the community and a criminal history that includes at least two felonies and an escape from incarceration — asked for a $25,000 cash bond.
“I can’t afford 25 grand,” Porter told Waters when asked for his take, adding, “That’s bullsh—, your honor.”
When the judge explained that bond is set based on whether Porter is a flight risk and a danger to the community, Porter said he was neither.
Waters said he respectfully disagreed, noting the fairly significant amount of marijuana recovered following last Wednesday’s shooting and the prior criminal history.
“It seems to me the state’s recommendations are appropriate,” he said.
Porter then disrespectfully disagreed, extending his middle finger to Waters and Skoric for an extended period of time, apparently waiting for Skoric to see it.
“And your momma,” Porter said to Skoric, with his finger still extended, while Waters continued to list the routine conditions Porter would have to follow if he were to post bond.
“Your honor, the state would note that the defendant’s flipping the state off; he’s flipping the court off,” said Skoric.
“I know. I noticed,” said Waters, who then continued reading through the conditions as Porter smiled and nodded at the deputies.
Waters had previously told Porter that he might reduce the bond at an Aug. 3 preliminary hearing, but when he finished reading through the bond conditions, the judge said “I would suggest that the chances of me reducing that bond ... just took a nose dive.”
Porter, wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles, fidgeted as though agitated and then overturned the wooden defense table with a bang loud enough to alarm some courthouse employees on the floor below.
He then struggled with several deputies who swarmed in to restrain 6-foot, 1-inch, 225-pound man.
“You guys ain’t got sh—,” Porter said as he was escorted out, adding to his girlfriend, “Love you, baby.”
He was then forced outside the courtroom as deputies worked to get him under control; those remaining in the courtroom, including his girlfriend, were told to stay put.
She repeatedly told him to stop struggling.
“Joshua,” she said. “Calm down.”
After calling the staff “motherf——rs,” Porter could be heard agreeing to cooperate and return to the jail.
Porter’s display was in stark contrast to the demeanor of Taylor Hall, who’s accused of trying to shoot Porter and another man following a dispute. Hall could be seen laughing with his attorney, Nick Beduhn, prior to his earlier Friday hearing and exchanged a kiss with his mother on his way out of the courtroom. Hall was polite when addressing Waters and Skoric.