Jury finds defendant guilty of aggravated murder, other felonies in 9-year-old homicide

A Champaign County Common Pleas jury on Friday returned a guilty verdict of aggravated murder and several felonies in the 2011 slaying of an 87-year-old Louis Taylor, who died several weeks after police found him in his home, Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell said.

Josiah Wayne Mathews, 30, was convicted of aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, grand theft of a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence and felonious assault in the death of Taylor, who was found severely beaten in his home on Dorothy Moore Avenue the morning of Oct. 25, 2011.

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Taylor underwent several days of emergency care and treatment, but never regained consciousness, Lingrell said.

Taylor died on Nov. 17, 2011.

Urbana police, after investigating the case for more than nine years, presented their case to a county grand jury on Jan. 4, 2021. That grand jury handed up criminal indictments against Mathews, who was 29 then, charging him in Taylor’s homicide.

The criminal trial began Oct. 11. The case went to the jury for deliberations on Thursday, Oct. 27.

“In homicide cases, there really are no winners,” Chief Lingrell said in a statement released to News Center 7. “Mr. Taylor left a lasting legacy for the many people whose lives he touched throughout his life here in the Urbana community. His loss for our community pales in comparison to the loss his loved ones have had to experience and endure with such a long wait for justice.”

Lingrell praised his police officers, some of whom he said have since retired, for sticking with the investigation into Taylor’s slaying.

Mathews, who has been in the Tri-County Regional Jail since his arrest, is to be sentenced at a hearing set for Jan. 20, 2023, the chief said.