In RS 1061, we published a story, American Warlord, about Chucky Taylor and his journey from average American teenager to accused war criminal. Today, the latest chapter in Taylor's saga came to an end when a federal judge sentenced him to 97 years in federal prison. Calling the crimes Taylor was convicted of "sadistic, cruel, atrocious acts," judge Cecilia M. Altonaga handed down the first sentence in American history under a federal anti-torture statute.
Chucky's father, the deposed dictator of Liberia, Charles Taylor, currently faces trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity. For several years, Chucky served as the head of his father's notorious security force and became one of most feared men in the war-torn African nation. He had faced 147 years in prison. In closing statements the defense argued that Chucky had been thrust into a barbaric civil war as an adolescent and " a lot of people were" also committing atrocities. The prosecution alternately cited the "final solution" under Hitler and the Vietnam My Lai massacre to defuse the defense's arguments that Chucky's family environment led him to commit acts of horrific violence and advocated for the maximum sentence.
Perhaps, most relevant is that the judge chose to sentence Chucky under much more severe guidelines related to the unlawful detention of the victims. An obscure legal fact, but any hypothetical convictions that arise out of the Bush administration's rendition program will also take this into account and decide punishment on the basis whether our government legally detained individuals linked to the War on Terror.
Taylor, 31, spoke to the court in khaki prison garb, with a full beard, and tattoos visible on each arm. He did not admit his guilt but called his victims his "African brothers," and said, "Sorry my brothers to what happened to you during the civil conflict." Upon hearing his sentencing, Chucky turned to his mother and said, "Stay strong. I love you mama."
Immediately after the sentencing, a class-action lawsuit was announced by a human rights group on behalf of Chucky's victims seeking unspecified damages. Agents for Immigration Customs Enforcement are still investigating Chucky for weapons trafficking during the Liberian civil war and since Taylor's conviction late last year have received hundreds of other leads in potential torture investigations.
To read the full Chucky Taylor story, click here: