Whitney Gray Murder: Where is Christopher Taylor Now?

In October 2016, 22-year-old Whitney Gray was going about her usual routine, grocery shopping with her two children and teenage niece. While driving back home, she was shot and killed by a man driving on the road. By the time police arrived at the scene, Whitney had already passed away. The motive for the crime remained elusive, making the investigation challenging. The efforts of law enforcement to identify the perpetrator are depicted in ID’s episode of ‘See No Evil’ titled ‘Not a Social Person’.

Whitney Gray was Driving When She was Killed

Whitney Gray was born on February 26, 1994, in Iowa to Sean and Christy Gray. Those close to her recall her as a resilient young woman who valued her independence. She was known for her love and devotion to her loved ones, especially her two sons, Junior Gray and Bentley Rooks, whom she cherished above all else. As a dedicated mother, Whitney was committed to creating a secure and happy home for her little family. On the evening of October 16, 2017, Whitney Gray, accompanied by her two sons, aged 3 years and 6 months, and her 16-year-old niece, went grocery shopping.

While returning home, Whitney was on Winner Road in Independence, Missouri, and was shot while driving. Her niece managed to take control of the vehicle, bringing it to a stop in the yard of a nearby residential building. Numerous witnesses observed the incident and promptly dialed 911 around 7:30 p.m. However, Whitney succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the chest before the authorities arrived. Fortunately, her children and niece emerged physically unscathed from the ordeal. The police were able to determine that she had been shot with a handgun and the shell casing was found nearby.

The Police Used Security Tapes to Track Down Whitney Gray’s Killer

Following the incident, the police swiftly initiated interviews with eyewitnesses, many of whom recounted seeing a large white SUV involved in the shooting. Witnesses described how the SUV had abruptly cut off Whitney Gray’s vehicle, fired the fatal shot, and swiftly fled the scene. With numerous residential and commercial properties lining the road, law enforcement officers diligently canvassed the area, knocking on doors, and scouring security footage for clues. While surveillance footage captured the white SUV cutting off Whitney’s vehicle, unfortunately, the license plate and the driver’s identity remained unknown.

The police intensified their efforts by interviewing Whitney’s niece, who recounted the events leading up to the shooting. According to her testimony, a man in the white SUV had been tailgating them, prompting Whitney to confront him. An altercation ensued, during which the niece retaliated by throwing a cup of water at the SUV. In response, the man brandished a gun and fired at Whitney. Recognizing the urgency of apprehending the perpetrator, law enforcement focused on retracing his movements. Their investigation led them to scrutinize security footage from Price Chopper, the grocery store where Whitney and her family had been shopping before the incident.

Although the security footage from Price Chopper did not capture the white SUV or its driver, it did reveal that the vehicle accelerated toward Whitney’s car as she was leaving the parking lot. Noticing a Taco Bell establishment across the street, the police sought additional surveillance footage from surrounding businesses in hopes of tracking the vehicle’s movements. Their objective was to identify any establishments where the driver might have stopped before getting behind Whitney’s car.

The police made a significant breakthrough while reviewing the security footage from a nearby QuikTrip, located just 3-4 miles away from the Price Chopper. In the footage, the driver of the white SUV was seen entering the store, displaying signs of anger and dissatisfaction. With clear images of his face captured on the surveillance footage, and the ability to read his license plate from external cameras, the police were able to identify the owner of the vehicle as James Taylor. Upon confronting James, he claimed that it was his son, Christopher “Chris” Taylor, who had been driving the car at the time of the incident.

James cooperated with the police and provided them with valuable information about Chris. He revealed that his son held anti-government beliefs and lived a survivalist lifestyle. According to James, Chris’ behavior had changed after his time in the army. Furthermore, James informed the police that a handgun, along with some of Chris’ personal belongings and camping gear, were missing from their home, indicating that he may have gone into hiding in the woods.

James also informed the police that the car Chris was driving had been purchased from a buy-here-pay-here car dealership. Knowing this, the police saw an opportunity to track his location. These dealerships were known to install GPS trackers on their vehicles, and the police utilized this to trace his whereabouts to Rapid City, South Dakota. He was located at the La Quinta hotel, and a SWAT team was dispatched to apprehend him. They devised a ruse about an accident in the parking lot, which successfully lured Chris out of his room, allowing the authorities to make the arrest. A handgun, a rifle, and thousands of ammunition were also found in his car.

Christopher Taylor is Incarcerated Today

Following his arrest, Christopher Taylor confessed to firing at Whitney Gray during a road rage altercation. His trial commenced in June 2018, with his defense arguing that his time in the army had triggered a reflexive response when the cup of water was thrown at him, resulting in an involuntary discharge of his firearm that led to Whitney’s death. However, the prosecution contended that shooting a loaded gun at a vehicle occupied by children could not be construed as an involuntary action.

The jury delivered a verdict of guilty against Chris Taylor for involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action. He was sentenced to serve 17 years for armed criminal action and 7 years for involuntary manslaughter, with both terms to be served concurrently. Currently 46 years old, Chris is serving his sentence at the Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City, Missouri. Details regarding his eligibility for parole are not publicly disclosed.

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