CHARLESTON, SC (WMBF) – A judge has denied a motion to dismiss federal charges against a man previously sentenced on similar state charges, and who authorities say is connected to the 2009 disappearance of Brittanee Drexel.
The federal charges against Timothy Da'Shaun Taylor stemmed from a 2011 robbery he has already served time for.
Taylor's attorneys filed a motion in July to dismiss the federal charges against him on the grounds that it violated his rights under the double jeopardy, due process, and cruel and unusual punishment clauses of the Constitution.
"Each of these arguments is without merit, and the motion is denied in full," stated the order, which was filed Monday. "The double jeopardy clause provides that no person shall be 'subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb.' This clause does not prohibit successive prosecutions by separate sovereigns – such as the federal government and the state of South Carolina – arising out of the same acts."
On Sept. 3, 2011, Taylor was involved in the armed robbery of a McDonald's in Mount Pleasant, according to court documents. He entered a guilty plea in state court to being the getaway driver and received a probationary sentence.
Two other suspects, Joseph Whiteside and Deron Moultrie, were also convicted in state court to participating in the robbery, court records stated. Whiteside reportedly shot the McDonald's manager in the hand and leg.
Federal investigators were looking into Taylor's possible involvement in the "2009 disappearance of a teenager" when they learned of the 2011 armed robbery and then sought federal charges, according to court documents.
Last summer, an FBI agent testified in open court that Drexel was abducted, gang-raped at a "stash house" in the McClellanville area, shot after trying to escape, and then her body was fed to alligators.
A jailhouse informant accused Taylor and his father, Shaun Taylor, of being directly involved in Drexel's murder, according to the agent's testimony.
Taylor has denied killing Drexel. At present, no one has been charged in her disappearance.