Suspect in Pregnant Girlfriend's 2001 Murder Might Have More Victims - NBC Southern California

Suspect in Pregnant Girlfriend's 2001 Murder Might Have More Victims

Detectives believe the suspect hired an assassin to kill the mother of his child



    Crystal Taylor was shot and killed in Hawthorne in 2001. Her unborn son also died in the shooting. Ten years later, investigators want to know if the suspect assaulted other women. (Published Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011)

    Homicide detectives are seeking the public's help to find other victims of a suspect who police say hired a hitman to kill his pregnant girlfriend so he did not have to make child-support payments.

    Crystal Taylor was killed on Sept. 25, 2001 in an ambush in the parking lot of an apartment building on Kornblum Avenue in Hawthorne, according to police. During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that Derek Smyer, Taylor’s boyfriend and father of her unborn child, was involved in the slaying.

    Detectives believe Smyer hired an assassin, 30-year-old Skyler Moore, to kill Taylor because she would not have an abortion and he didn't want to pay child support, said Officer Nicole Nishida of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department.

    "She was shot in the head, execution-style," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said.

    Smyer, 30, was arrested Thursday and booked in connection with the killing. Moore is already serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for an unrelated killing, according to the District Attorney's Office.

    Both men are charged with two counts of murder and one count of conspiracy, according to the District Attorney's Office. Smyer is also charged with two counts of solicitation of murder. Both were expected to be arraigned on Nov. 18.

    Police are hoping to build their case against Smyer and believe he may have victimized or assaulted other women. They are seeking the public's help to find them.

    Some of Taylor's family members attended a news conference Wednesday morning, including her son, who was 10 at the time of the killing.

    "It was just me and my mom, for most of my life,'' Javonte Woods said. "She wasn't just my mother, she was ... my best friend. And I also had my little brother that was also coming, and I wondered every day if I was taking her for granted if I (didn't) tell her that I loved her that day.''

    "I never understood how this could happen to such a beautiful person" Taylor's sister Monica Walker said.

    Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s homicide division at (323) 890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS. 

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