A Huntington Beach surfboard shaper and son of Surf City royalty pleaded guilty Tuesday to trying to get his former sister-in-law knocked off.
Joseph Jordan Taylor, whose father is 2011 Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame inductee John Reid Taylor, copped to felony solicitation to commit murder and attempted murder with a prior strike conviction for criminal threats in 2007.
The 32-year-old now faces a sentence of up to 23 years in state prison, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, which added that sentencing is set for next Tuesday in Santa Ana.
Testifying in May 2016 at the Westminster courthouse, Huntington Beach Police Detective Trent Tunstall said that one of Taylor’s friends approached authorities in May 2015 to report that his pal had given him $5,000 to arrange the murder of “his brother’s ex.”
Investigators secretly recorded a subsequent conversation the friend had with Taylor, during which a meeting with two “hit men” was arranged, Tunstall testified.
Two undercover Huntington Beach cops posing as potential assassins met with Taylor in a Westminster Mall parking lot soon after. Taylor told the undercovers he wanted his sister-in-law killed at her home after she dropped her kids off at school, and that it should look like a robbery gone bad, according to Tunstall, whose detectives also recorded the meeting.
Taylor, who specified that the murder should be done before a looming child custody hearing, agreed to pay $12,000 for the hit, Tunstall said.
The defendant was arrested later that same day, right after he handed the “hit men” a $2,000 cash down payment, Tunstall testified.
Taylor’s father John, a surf-shop proprietor who was part of the Hole in the Wall Gang surf team that gained prominence in the 1960s and ’70s, the defendant’s brother Matthew Austin Taylor and their friend, Long Beach’s Travis Sprague, were originally arrested in the case, but charges against them were dropped due to lack of evidence.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.