The Taylor Anne McAllister Case: Payoffs, Botched Investigations, and Injustice?

[St. Petersburg, Florida]

Taylor McAllister (22) thoroughly enjoyed her beautiful life, especially motherhood and music, but like many young Americans, she had a difficult battle with drug use. Her addiction meant that she was bouncing around a lot and wouldn’t contact her parents for months. When she did contact her parents, the calls came from a variety of numbers. The last time her parents heard from her, September 2nd, 2016, she was telling her mother happy birthday.

Taylor’s last known address in December of 2016 was living with a convict by the name of Robert “Bert” Butler III in Palm Harbor. His public criminal record is pages long including charges such as aggravated assault, battery, false imprisonment, drug paraphernalia charges, and being connected to the overdose of an underaged female.

Despite his constant troublesome behavior, Bert was often able to pay his way through his charges and was never held long. He was the heir of Bob’s Carpet and Flooring therefore possessed a lot of money. In fact, all of his financial support came from the business. Bert used his older age and finances to prey on Taylor while she was actively struggling with addiction. Once living with him, Bert took away her phone and banned her from having others overs so she wouldn’t be able to contact the outside world.

On December 21st, 2016, Bert called his live-in drug dealer, Deonte Baker, to his home after explaining that Taylor looked extremely sick and he needed help. Baker drove the 45 minute drive to the home with three of his friends, Desmond Washington, Quran Archer, and an unknown man. (Many news articles fail to ever mention Washington and the 5th accomplice.

Quran Archer

However, all involved admitted to Washington being there during their interviews and Baker confirmed a 5th guy.) The men arrived to find Taylor sprawled out in his bed covered in urine. She was allegedly moaning in agony and unable to fend for herself. Bert ordered for the men to drive Taylor to the hospital while also insisting that he did not want to touch her. When the idea of calling 911 was presented, Bert refused because he was a felon with guns and drugs in the home. Washington placed her body in Butler’s truck. Archer took responsibility as the driver of the truck while Baker and Washington followed behind in another vehicle. Instead of racing to a hospital, Archer passed them and wasted more time that could have helped Taylor to stay alive. At some point, Taylor apparently passed away inside the car. Bert was notified, but he insisted that they not bring her back, and instead “take care of it”.

The men drove around for 25 more miles while conspiring on what to do. They considered burying her before settling on dumping her in an alley.

Taylor was left so inhumanely that she didn’t have any pants on and they ran over her body when speeding away. After discarding her body, the men went back to the house where they were threatened by Robert to stick to the script about Taylor overdosing.

When Taylor’s body was discovered on December 22nd, 2016, she was severely bruised as if she had been beaten. There were scrapes and cuts all within her mouth as if she was biting and straining to breathe. The only article of clothing she was wearing was a shirt that was pulled up exposing her breasts. There was DNA found under her fingernails and on her neck consistent with a struggle. Furthermore, there was muscular and petechial hemorrhaging on her body that aligned with strangulation. A trained, experienced medical examiner ruled out the possibility of an overdose. Her conclusion was that Taylor died from asphyxiation and her manner of death was a homicide.

Investigators interviewed Butler the same day Taylor’s body was found. They observed fresh scratches on his face, nose and arm, but were not quick to arrest him. When they asked for his DNA, Bert abruptly asked for his lawyer. Authorities ended up leaving without an arrest which allowed the group to burn their clothes, destroy surveillance cameras at the home, trash Taylor’s belongings, get rid of the mattress she was on, and thoroughly clean the truck she was last in. Authorities later returned with a warrant to retrieve his DNA which was a match to the DNA found under Taylor’s fingernails. It took a year for investigators to return to Bert’s with further questioning.

The investigation into Taylor’s death was botched to say the least. Interview audio tapes with Butler were edited and cut off at certain moments where the DNA match was discussed. They didn’t ever pursue the 5th suspect that Baker admitted to working with. Police didn’t follow up with any phone call set ups in the hopes of catching Butler admitting to Taylor’s murder. Her family still receives constant hate insisting that Taylor was a junkie that died from an overdose, but all the evidence points otherwise.

The St. Petersburg Police Department is also working hard to silence the McAllisters during their fight for better justice.

Taylor’s death sparked a drug investigation into Bert and Baker. Bert was convicted of money laundering after it was proven that he wrote 400,000 dollar checks to Baker for cocaine. This openly demonstrates that he has plenty of money to pay people off. Taylor’s parents were told that Butler would get 12–14 years in prison, but he ultimately made an agreement to testify against Deonte Baker in exchange for a lighter sentence. He was sentenced to forty months which was later reduced to twenty seven months. In connection to Taylor’s death, Robert Henry Butler III was only convicted of failure to report a death and sentenced to a year. However, he only served eight months of that sentence. The only reason he is still in prison is due to the money laundering sentence. Bert is scheduled to be released some time in 2021.

Deonte Baker was also only convicted of failure to report a death and was given a year. At the time of his sentencing, he was being held on the federal drug charges concurrently so he served the full year until his federal trial was over. He was found not guilty on the drug charges meaning he is no longer in jail.

Quran Archer was only convicted of failure to report a death. He was offered six months, but served just four.

The two others involved were never charged, including Desmond Washington, who everyone pointed the finger at as responsible for moving her body to the truck and also at the alley.

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Holly Alexis

Holly Alexis

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23. Sociology & Criminal Justice Major. True Crime Fanatic. Writer. All articles are tossed together from the comfort of my couch.