Collinsville man’s killer will spend four decades behind bars

One of two people charged with stabbing an elderly Collinsville man to death has pleaded guilty and will spend four decades in prison.

Jessie James Werley Jr. and Eva Heisch, both of Missouri, were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery in the December 2015 death of Daniel Taylor.

Taylor, 68, was found stabbed with his throat slit in his home on Ostle Drive on Dec. 9, 2015. He had last been seen alive three days before, having lunch with family members. His family had asked police to check on him after not hearing from him for a while, and police found him with multiple stab wounds and a neck laceration.

The Major Case Squad was activated to investigate Taylor’s death, but eventually disbanded without charges filed.

Six months later, charges were filed against both Werley and Heisch, stating that Heisch was a casual acquaintance of Taylor’s and the two conspired to rob him.

Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons called the crime “brutal and heinous” when announcing the charges. He said while the Major Case Squad did not have the evidence needed to move forward initially, “our men and women in law enforcement never give up,” and the investigation continued until charges could be filed.

Werley pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison, of which he must serve 100 percent.

Heisch’s trial is still pending in Madison County Circuit Court. Both Werley and Heisch have been in custody since they were charged in lieu of $1 million bail.

Taylor was a retired truck driver who enjoyed stock car races and water skiing, according to his obituary. He was survived by his mother and two sisters.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald