After nearly 40 years, a suspect in the murder of a former Florida immigration official has been apprehended for the second time. In 1980, William Claybourne Taylor was arrested in the crime, but he fled after being released on bond.
Taylor is accused of killing a former member of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the attempted murder of former Williston Mayor Eugene Bailey in 1977. He has been on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for both crimes since his disappearance in 1980.
Taylor’s older brother, Ray, and a third man were arrested for plotting the mayor’s assassination and then charging fees to represent the family in legal proceedings. At the time of his arrest in 1980, Ray Taylor was a successful Tennessee state prosecutor.
Ray Taylor was sentenced as the main administrator in the murder plot. The third man, whose identity was not reported, testified against Ray Taylor in exchange for a reduced sentence. The man received 15 years of probation.
William Taylor, who was indicted in the murder as the triggerman, was arrested in Chattanooga, Tennessee and later released on a $20,000 bond. After failure to return to Ocala, Florida, the prosecution filed an additional charge of unlawful flight.
According to an FBI report, the shooting took place on U.S. 27, outside of Ocala, Florida. The immigration official, Walter Scott, died after shots were fired and the car careened into some trees. Bailey was shot three times by a man who approached the car after the car crashed, but survived.
The FBI has continued to search for Taylor since his disappearance 36 years ago. “William Claybourne Taylor thought he could avoid taking responsibility for this horrible crime, but our agents continued an exhaustive search year after year,” said Special Agent Michelle Klimt.
The FBI found Taylor living under a false identity in North Carolina.