Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ken Taylor and the Death of Jordan Shelton

Trouble Comes After Thanksgiving

Ken Taylor in court.
Ken Taylor in court.
On the Friday night after Thanksgiving (November 23, 2007), Ken Taylor had given permission for his twin boys Jesse and Justin and older teen foster-sons Jordan and Rodney Todd Wilson to stay up past midnight to watch a movie about Vietnam that Ken and Lisa had pre-screened earlier that day. Although they were forbidden to do so, Wilson and Shelton snuck outside to smoke cigarettes. When Ken caught them, he ordered them back to their bedroom and told them to turn off the lights and stay there until morning.

Jordan decided he wanted to listen to his CDs, and left his room to get them from downstairs. On his way back upstairs, he ran into Ken Taylor who had briefly left his bedroom for a trip to the bathroom. According to his statement to police, Ken Taylor said he told Jordan "you know you're not supposed to be out" and took the CD player from him. Taylor recounted that Jordan "just went off" hitting him in the chest and tackling him into a fan in the hallway. Taylor said he reached around and got Jordan in a headlock and held him face down until the teen quit struggling. By this time, Rodney Todd Wilson had gotten out of bed and started yelling for Jordan to quit fighting and apologize, that it wasn't worth the fight -- alluding to a basic truth for foster children: if Taylor were to call the police and report an assault, Jordan's next stop would surely be juvenile detention.

After a few minutes, Jordan stopped flailing his arms. Taylor let go and walked away. Jordan stayed there motionless, but Taylor thought the young man was just being difficult and sprinkled some water on him. No response. Taylor and Wilson turned Jordan over and noticed his face was turning purple. Ken yelled for his wife to call 911. Lisa called and relayed instructions from the dispatcher until paramedics arrived at the scene.

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