Trial begins for mother accused of leaving baby in dumpster

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Jury selection took place Monday in the case of the woman accused of leaving her newborn baby in a dumpster.

The newborn baby was found in a white trash bag tied with knots outside the Island Green Apartments in Socastee on April 9, 2015. Shelby Harper Taylor was 23 years old at the time and a mother to a 16-month-old baby.

Taylor pleaded not guilty to an attempted homicide by child abuse charge and requested a trial.

The 14-panel jury was selected Monday and then pretrial motions began.  Scott Hixson, the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office's chief deputy, presented motions along with one witness and evidence.

The first witness to testify for the state was Jeff Cauble, a former Horry County Police Department detective. He played an audio recording for evidence of the interview he had with Taylor after she turned herself in to police the same day the baby was found in the dumpster.

"We basically asked her if she knew why she was there and she, I believe she told us at that time that she just saw her picture on the news and wanted to know why her photo was on the news," Cauble said. "So it was at that time we told her what the situation was and that a baby had been found and it was found in a dumpster."

Judge Robert Hood said Taylor was one of the calmest people he's heard during an interview and at the time of questioning, he said it was clear the detectives didn't believe she was a true suspect until her husband, Patrick Taylor, came in the room.

Taylor, sobbing, said to the detectives during the recording that she "got scared" and didn't want her husband to leave her. Then she asked, "Am I going to jail?"

Taylor said it was her husband's baby, but she knew he didn't want a second child..

Greg McCollum, one of the defendant's attorneys, said Taylor gave birth to the baby at her apartment in the early morning hours with no epidural. She was taken to the hospital for two days and then taken to jail.

On cross examination, he questioned the detective's interviewing tactics and said no rights were read to Taylor until the interrogation was underway.

"I really don't want to comment on the facts but what I can say is what we did here is very important," McCollum said following the motions. "The judge listened to evidence and strategies in the case, he deliberated carefully over how the case will go and gave us instructions on how to proceed. On behalf of Shelby Taylor, we are happy to present the case and are looking forward to our day in court so we can explore all of her defenses and show exactly what's going on here and we look forward to doing that tomorrow (Tuesday) morning."

Taylor is out of jail on a $10,000 surety bond. Her bondsman was in the courtroom when the jury was selected. He said Taylor has checked in on a weekly basis and has had no problems.

The trial will begin Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

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