Cassandra Smith deemed competent to stand trial after killing Charlotte County Deputy Christopher Taylor

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A woman who troopers say hit and killed Christopher Taylor, a Charlotte County Deputy, on I-75 near the Punta Gorda/Arcadia exit is competent enough to stand trial.

Taylor’s dad told WINK News Friday afternoon that whenever he comes to the courthouse and sees Cassandra Smith’s face, he suffers a little more.

Since Nov. 22, Taylor’s dad has grieved the loss of his son. The only thing that gets him through is knowing family, friends, and people he’s never met stand with him in wanting Smith to spend the rest of her life behind bars.

Smith, the woman grinning from ear to ear in one of her mugshots, is competent enough to stand trial. Friday afternoon, a judge rules Smith is able to understand what she does and has done.

“In this, it does appear that there is a finding by the evaluator that you are, in fact, competent to proceed with these proceedings,” the judge said.

Crash investigators said Smith was drunk when she was arrested and posed for her mugshot. She’s charged with DUI and manslaughter for crossing three lanes of traffic and killing Deputy Taylor.

The 23-year-old deputy was performing a traffic stop on I-75 North when he was killed in November.

Since the day they lost their son, the Taylor family has said they want Smith to stay behind bars forever. They’ve come to every Smith court appearance and spoke with WINK News every time afterward.

“He was so young, you know, and he hadn’t had a future head-on. He was going to get married, you know. And it’s so sad because he did everything by the book,” Rich Taylor, Christopher’s dad, said.

On Friday, the Taylor family wore their blue ribbons in memory of Chris. But left the courtroom more upset than when they came in. They left unable to speak and in tears.

They expected to hear Smith’s case management hearing, where the judge ensures things are progressing. But the judge pushed that to May 25.

The Taylor family said they can’t take any more delays. They want Smith to go to trial and to be held accountable. The original judge on the case refused to grant her bond.

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