Real Name: William Claybourne Taylor
Aliases: William Clay Taylor, Clay Taylor, Michael A. Cauley, Michael Ferris Cawley, Michael Ferris Cauley, William C. Taylor, Robert J. Cudone, William Claybrourne Taylor
Wanted For: Murder, Attempted Murder
Missing Since: August 6, 1980
Details: Clay Taylor is wanted for the January 8, 1977 murder of sixty-four-year-old former INS official Walter Scott, and the attempted assassination of Florida mayor Eugene Bailey. At approximately 9PM on that night, Walter, Eugene, two friends, and their wives were leaving an Ocala restaurant when they discovered that one of Walter's car tires was flat. The women decided to take one car home while the men tried to fix the car's tire. Twenty-five minutes later, after they got the tire repaired at a local garage, the four men left to go home.
While driving down rural Route 27, another car pulled up next to them. A passenger in the car fired a shotgun at Walter's head, killing him instantly. The car veered off the road and came to rest in a field. The shooter then walked to the car and shot Eugene three times at close range. Miraculously, he survived and the other two men were unharmed.
Authorities felt that Walter was not the target of the crime; they believed that Eugene was the target because of his career. He had been mayor for sixteen terms and was well-known throughout town. However, he and his family could not think of anyone who would want him dead. The only physical evidence found at the scene were three .32 caliber shell casings and an appointment book, apparently dropped by the gunman. Authorities investigated several leads, but they were all dead ends.
With no suspects, the investigation stalled until 1980, when a witness came forward. The woman claimed that she had been abused by her boyfriend, Paul Allen. She told authorities that Allen had met with a local attorney named Ray Taylor who had hired him to kill Eugene Bailey. She claimed that Ray's brother Clay was also involved. The woman further claimed that Ray had told Allen to get rid of the guns involved in the shooting. She told authorities that Allen had taken her with him when he dumped the guns in a nearby river.
The woman led the investigators to an isolated cove along the Withlacoochee River, twenty five miles from Ocala. Divers searched the river for two days, but the guns were not found. However, after questioning locals, authorities learned that three guns had been found in the river shortly after the murder. These guns were in the custody of local police. The guns were registered to Ray Taylor; he had claimed that they had been stolen six days prior to the murder. Ballistic tests proved that one of the guns was used to shoot Eugene Bailey.
Authorities interviewed Paul Allen, who first denied any involvement in the case, claiming that his girlfriend was lying. However, when the investigators told Allen that they had found the guns used in the shooting, he confessed. Allen claimed that he was only the driver and that he did not shoot anyone. Allen told investigators that Ray Taylor was $40,000 in debt in 1977 and was also Eugene Bailey's business attorney. Ray assumed that if Eugene died, his family would appoint him executor of Eugene's $3.5 million estate.
Allen told investigators that Ray Taylor had given him the guns. Allen claimed that he and Clay Taylor followed the couples to the restaurant on the night of the murder. Clay flattened one of the car's tires in order to have less witnesses to the shooting. Clay and Allen proceeded to Route 27 and waited for the men to drive by. When they did, Clay put on a ski mask and attached a flashlight to the barrel of his shotgun.
Allen said that once they were pulled up to the other car, Clay fired once, killing Walter Scott. Clay then told Allen to pull over; Clay ran to the car and then fired the remaining shots at Eugene Bailey. Afterwards, Clay took the guns used in the shooting and gave them to his brother Ray. A week after the shooting, Ray returned to Allen and gave him the guns, which he then dumped in the river.
Allen's story was further corroborated when investigators determined that the appointment book dropped at the murder scene belonged to Clay's girlfriend. The girlfriend said that he was supposed to go to a concert with her that night, but he never showed up. Allen testified against the Taylor brothers, received fifteen years probation, and died in 1981 of natural causes.
Ray Taylor was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. However, his conviction was later overturned; he pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. Eugene Bailey, the intended victim, died in 1983. However, Clay Taylor, the alleged trigger-man, after being arrested in 1980, vanished while out on bail and is still at large.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the September 26, 1990 episode.
Results: Captured. In 1991, Ray Taylor was released on parole. In July of 2016, the FBI learned from an Unsolved Mysteries viewer that Clay Taylor was married and living in Reidsville, North Carolina, under the assumed name Jay Emmett Manion. He was arrested on July 28; when brought into custody, he denied that he was Taylor. However, fingerprints confirmed his identity.
In January of 2018, he went on trial for Walter's murder. The jury convicted him of second-degree murder. In March, he was sentenced to life in prison. In April, his brother Ray was arrested and charged with helping him hide from authorities.
- Taylor's FBI Wanted Poster
- Tv Show To Ask Help In Tracking Suspect
- 13 Years Later, Taylor Pleads Guilty In Death
- A mystery, 36 years later
- Captured: Suspect in ’77 murder, attempted murder of Williston mayor
- FBI Murder Suspect Captured After Decades as Fugitive
- January trial set in 1977 murder, attempted hit on Williston mayor
- Reidsville wife set to testify against fugitive in 1977 Florida murder case
- Witnesses describe day, circumstances of 1977 murder
- Taylor found guilty of second degree murder
- Life for defendant in 1977 murder, assassination attempt
- Ray Taylor charged with helping brother elude FBI for decades