Jury convicts Baton Rouge man in 2007 killing of 61-year-old on Blue Grass Drive _lowres

Symond Taylor

Nearly nine years after Wilbert Livious was found dead inside his ransacked Baton Rouge home with a bullet wound to the face, a convicted felon serving time in federal prison on drug and gun charges was found guilty Thursday in the 61-year-old’s slaying.

Symond “Mon” Taylor, 34, also of Baton Rouge, was convicted of second-degree murder by an East Baton Rouge Parish jury that deliberated for about 90 minutes.

Taylor faces an automatic term of life behind bars when state District Judge Beau Higginbotham sentences him Aug. 4.

Taylor wasn’t indicted in the October 2007 cold-case murder until October 2014.

“Trying a case that is almost 9 years old certainly presents challenges,” said East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Will Morris, who prosecuted Taylor. “The Baton Rouge Police Department deserves credit for not letting the case die.

“The victim’s family had to wait a long time to see this violent career criminal brought to justice,” he added.

Livious’ family chose not to comment after the verdict.

Taylor, who was convicted of cocaine possession in 2004 in Baton Rouge state court, pleaded guilty in Baton Rouge federal court in 2009 to distribution of crack cocaine and felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison.

Once he completes that sentence, Taylor will be moved to state custody to serve his life term.

Livious was found dead Oct. 20, 2007, in his Blue Grass Drive home with a single shot to the face from a Ruger 9 mm pistol, a gun Taylor’s father turned over to federal authorities in 2008. Taylor had left the gun at his father’s home, prosecutors said.

Dzanduria Singleton, a fellow convicted felon, testified Wednesday that Taylor confessed to her in early November 2007 that he killed Livious.

Morris told the jury Livious was killed for the $1,800 he had saved up to buy a car. The killer used a blanket to muffle the sound of the gunfire, the prosecutor said, noting that a blanket was found with a bullet hole in it.

Taylor’s attorney, Margaret Lagattuta, argued there were no witnesses to the fatal shooting, and neither Taylor’s DNA nor his fingerprints were found in Livious’ home or on the handgun.