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Witness recounts kidnapping of Taylor in 2d trial

State Rep. John D. Myers had been through this before: sitting in court and listening to the horrible details of his son's kidnapping, torture and disappearance.

State Rep. John D. Myers had been through this before: sitting in court and listening to the horrible details of his son's kidnapping, torture and disappearance.

But it wasn't any easier the second time as Kenneth Tuck, 34, was put on trial yesterday on charges of kidnapping and robbing Shamari Taylor, 26, and a woman last August.

When Assistant District Attorney Gonen Haklay opened his case by saying that Tuck "tortured that young man to the point he's never been seen since," Myers looked down and shook his head.

"I just want to know where this boy is at," Myers, a Democrat who represents Germantown and Mount Airy, said after the first day of the trial concluded on the 10th floor of the Criminal Justice Center.

Even if his son were dead, Myers said, he would accept an anonymous tip giving the location of the body. "It can be as anonymous as they want to make it," he said.

Once again, Myers had to hear how his son was a drug dealer and how, on the night he was kidnapped, he was either making a large delivery or buying cocaine. The kidnappers wanted his drugs and money.

He listened intently as Caren Murphy, 22, recounted how she and Taylor had been handcuffed by a gang of men, had their faces wrapped in duct tape, and then were taken to some unknown location where she could hear Taylor pleading for his life and screaming.

Murphy, who spoke softly in a matter-of-fact manner, confused details, which seemed to frustrate Haklay.

When she was 15, she said, she had a sexual relationship with Tuck that lasted three months. When asked how often she had sex with Tuck, who was 28 at the time, she suggested it was only a few times.

Haklay reminded her that she had been in his office last week reviewing her previous statements to police and her preliminary hearing testimony and that she had said she and Tuck had sex two or three times a week.

Haklay had to read portions of her previous testimony and statements to police to elaborate on some of her hazy recollections yesterday.

That's what defense lawyer Christopher Warren plans to attack today during cross-examination: Murphy's inconsistent statements to police and in court.

Murphy initially told police that her kidnappers all wore masks. It was only after being grilled by homicide detectives that she identified Tuck as one of her assailants - one of two men who wore badges hanging from their necks and drove in a van with a flashing blue light on the dashboard. The other men rode in a sedan with a similar flashing blue light, but they covered their faces, she said.

Murphy explained that she was afraid she might be implicated in a conspiracy if she said she knew one of the kidnappers. She said they took her driver's license and warned her not to say anything.

She told police she was dropped off in Strawberry Mansion the next morning and walked to a gas station to buy cigarettes and call her sister. As corroboration, Haklay showed surveillance video from the gas station that showed her making a purchase and then using the pay phone.

Warren told the jury that Murphy was "either misidentifying or falsely identifying" Tuck, and claimed that their relationship ended badly - suggesting that she was framing Tuck. She denied that.

Warren said he will present alibi witnesses to testify that Tuck was at home playing cards when the kidnapping occurred and that he was at a cookout the next day when two gunmen shot Taylor's mother and sister during a home invasion robbery.

Murphy testified that the kidnappers demanded to know where Taylor's mother lived. When she gave a fake address, they accused her of lying and said they had been watching Taylor for months.

Two of the kidnappers used Taylor's keys to get into his mother's house, ransacked his bedroom, and took $5,000 to $10,000. Taylor's mother was shot twice in the head, but survived.

Tuck, who is expected to testify, wore a green shirt and jeans. And he was able to walk. At his preliminary hearing in September, Tuck sat in a wheelchair because he was recovering from two gunshot wounds suffered in Camden shortly before his arrest.