Lakewood man sentenced in 2018 killing of neighbor thanks to detective work, DNA: I-TEAM

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LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found a killer is now going to prison because a detective followed a money trail with hi-tech science and cracked the case with a clue from the victim’s pocket.

Gary Taylor, 58, of Lakewood was convicted earlier this month of the January 2018 murder of  his elderly neighbor Daniel Donlan.  Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Emily Hagan sentenced him Wednesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.  Police say the 70-year-old victim was beaten to death.

Prosecutors and family members say the murder may have remained unsolved without the hard work of Lakewood Detective Tom McLaughlin.

“At first the trail kinda went cold,” McLaughlin said.

In 2018, he took the case to CrimeStoppers of Cuyahoga County and the FOX 8 I-TEAM, asking for anyone with information on the murder to call.

He also went to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office and met with the DNA team.  It was soon decided they would test the victim’s clothing.

“They made such advances on touch DNA,” McLaughlin said. “We are able to do things today that we were not able to do before.”

McLaughlin said during his investigation he discovered the victim had withdrawn $200 from the bank on the day he was murdered.  Police were not able to locate the money.

“I thought maybe the suspect stole it,” McLaughlin explained. “So I asked the medical examiner to test the interior of the victim’s pockets and low and behold it came back with the suspects DNA inside the victim’s pockets.”

McLaughlin said he is grateful for the work by the medical examiner’s office and the prosecutor’s office.

“I got to know the family for the victim,” McLaughlin said. “I wanted to solve this for them.”

Taylor, who maintains his innocence, plans to appeal his conviction.

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