An inmate serving life for killing his ex-girlfriend four years ago will not get a new trial, a local judge has ordered.
Kevin Souffrant, now 39, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2014 for what a local prosecutor called “savage assault and murder” of 21-year-old Shadae Taylor-Brooks inside her Wabank Road apartment.
Souffrant filed for relief, arguing his lawyer was ineffective and should have pursued a different strategy at trial.
Lancaster County President Judge Dennis Reinaker has denied that claim, finding the trial lawyer’s decisions in the case had “reasonable basis.”
First Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Larsen, who won the conviction, presented at trial an audio recording of Souffrant threatening to kill Taylor-Brooks – hours before Souffrant actually did.
That recording, made by Taylor-Brooks’ sister with a cellphone, also indicated Souffrant was beating Taylor-Brooks shortly before she was found dead in her apartment.
Souffrant argued his trial lawyer should have pursued a manslaughter defense.
President Judge Reinaker, in denying the motion, mentions that would not have necessarily been a better approach because Souffrant told police unknown intruders were responsible.
Also, the audio recording contradicts a manslaughter argument, the president judge’s opinion states.
Larsen argued to jurors that Souffrant first pistol-whipped Taylor-Brooks, beat and strangled her, before shooting her twice.
An autopsy showed 13 areas of trauma on Taylor-Brooks’ body.
Lancaster city police Detective Aaron Harnish filed charges.
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