COVINGTON — Bobby Lee Taylor was brought into an Alleghany County courtroom Tuesday to plead guilty to his part in the abduction earlier this year of a 2-year-old Giles County boy. But instead, a defense attorney said that Taylor now wants to take his charges to a trial.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Gardner quickly said that she would want Taylor’s case to be heard by a jury, not just a judge, and noted, “Up until this moment, it was set for a plea.” Circuit Judge Ed Stein scheduled a jury trial for Jan. 20.
Taylor, 43, of Clifton Forge, sat quietly throughout the short hearing, wearing orange jail clothes and a face mask, and clasping together his tattooed hands.
Taylor faces charges of abduction and possessing a Schedule I or II drug, both the result of Noah Trout’s May 4 disappearance from the nursery of Riverview Baptist Church, in the Ripplemead community in Giles County. About 25 hours after the boy vanished, officers found him at the mobile home that Taylor shared with his girlfriend, Nancy Renee Fridley, 45.
Noah was unharmed but his head had been shaved, investigators said. A prosecutor has said that Fridley told neighbors that she was getting custody of her two boys back, and that she and Taylor introduced Noah to neighbors as Taylor’s son, calling him “Bobby Jr.”
But investigators and Giles County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bobby Lilly have called the case a stranger abduction and said repeatedly that they have found no prior link between Noah and his accused abductors.
Fridley also was charged with abduction and drug possession, but with the charges split between Giles and Alleghany counties. She has preliminary hearings scheduled in Alleghany County on Nov. 23 and in Giles County on Dec. 16.
At Taylor’s Tuesday hearing, his attorney, Taylor Baker of Hot Springs, said that he also wanted jurors to decide two charges that his client faces from a March incident: forging employment records and felony Department of Motor Vehicles perjury. Taylor was indicted on those charges last month.
Baker said that he does not plan to contest the drug possession charge, leading Stein to ask if Taylor did not want to go ahead Tuesday and enter a plea on just that charge. Baker said that he preferred to keep all the charges together, however, and would leave them to be resolved on the day of the jury trial.