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Dunbar robber sentenced to prison

A Dunbar man who begged for one final chance from a judge was sentenced instead to three to 25 years in prison for robbing two people, one of them a paraplegic.

Cody Taylor, 23, of 17th Street, was charged with kidnapping, assault and armed robbery. He pleaded guilty to the latter charges.

Police arrested Taylor in November after an attack on Ralph Gillenwater of 18th Street. Gillenwater told authorities Taylor offered to push him home from a local convenience store, but took him instead to his own home first and robbed him of prescription medication and cash.

Gillenwater was treated at a local hospital for a fractured jaw after that incident. But in court Wednesday, attorneys said the actual story of what happened might be different.

Assistant Prosecutor Fred Giggenbach said a witness came forward who was not initially interviewed by police. The fight involved a drug deal, he said.

Taylor admitted to Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom that he had a long criminal history and problems with drug addictions. He has undergone drug treatment in the past, but has not been successful.

He pleaded for a chance to go to the Anthony Center for Youthful Offenders, an option endorsed by both Giggenbach and Taylor's attorney, John Carr.

"I take responsibility for the crimes I've committed," Taylor said. "I'm very understanding that these are not small crimes."

"I was not ready before," he said when asked by the judge why previous treatment had been unsuccessful. "I thought I could kick this without any help.

"But this is stronger than me," Taylor said of his drug problem.

Giggenbach said he was willing to recommend the drug treatment and vocational training the Anthony Center offers, and thought it was Taylor's only chance to turn his life around.

"And we asked the victims in this case to come to court and say their peace, but they aren't here," Giggenbach said.

"His criminal history is lengthy, and not much else has helped him," he said.

But Bloom sentenced Taylor to two to 10 years in the penitentiary on the assault charge and one to 15 years on the burglary charge. Those sentences will be served consecutively.

Taylor will receive credit for the 123 days he has been incarcerated at South Central Regional Jail since his arrest.

Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at or 304-348-4832.


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