Ashly Bonner will spend 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder in the 2015 death of Roderick Taylor.
Bonner pleaded guilty in Madison County Circuit Court on Wednesday before Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli.
Bonner, Taylor and George Tillman all worked at the same company and knew each other in December 2015, when Bonner and Tillman invited Taylor to Bonner’s home in Granite City. Police believe Taylor was lured to Bonner’s home in an attempt to rob him.
According to police, Tillman shot Taylor during the robbery and hit Taylor several times in the head with a VCR and a frying pan. After the struggle, Taylor was put in the trunk of the Cadillac he had been driving. It is believed he was still alive at the time.
Later that evening, a Brooklyn Police officer attempted to pull Tillman over in the Cadillac. He fled and eventually crashed at a roundabout in East St. Louis. Tillman was taken to an area hospital, and police took inventory of the vehicle, finding Taylor’s body in the trunk.
Tillman, 32, of Belleville, pleaded guilty in October to first-degree murder and is awaiting sentencing. He faces 20 to 60 years; prosecutors say they will ask for 40 years.
Bonner, 26, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, a Class M felony punishable by 20-60 years in prison; one count of armed robbery, a Class X felony punishable by 6-30 years in prison; and one count of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony punishable by 2-5 years in prison.
Bonner broke down crying as she addressed the family.
“I know you don’t want to hear what I have to say, but I am truly sorry,” she said. She said she has thought about Taylor’s death every day, and that it wasn’t supposed to happen. She was crying as she was led out of the courtroom.
Stephanie Taylor, Roderick Taylor’s older sister, testified that the entire family has been impacted greatly by Taylor’s death “over nothing.”
“He had nothing; he worked hard all his life,” Taylor said. “You are totally responsible because you got him there.”
In accordance with Bonner’s plea bargain, the other charges against her were dropped, and she pleaded guilty to the first count of first-degree murder.
Prosecutor Josh Jones said Bonner cooperated with police in the prosecution of Tillman and was willing to testify against him, had his case had proceeded to trial. Jones said Bonner’s cooperation was key in Tillman’s decision to plead guilty instead of proceeding to trial.
Bonner has been in custody in the Madison County Jail since 2015 and will receive credit for time served.