A Springfield man was convicted by a Champaign County jury on Friday in a 2011 murder case that left an elderly Urbana man named Louis Taylor dead after an attack in Taylor’s Urbana home.
Josiah Wayne Mathews, age 30 and lodged in the Tri-County Regional Jail since Jan. 6, 2021, was indicted Jan. 4, 2021 on one count of aggravated murder, three counts of murder and several other counts in relation to the homicide of Taylor, age 87. Taylor died in Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, several days after being beaten in his Urbana home.
The trial began on Oct. 11 and went to the jury on Oct. 27 after an interruption in the trial due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the jurors.
On Friday, jurors convicted Mathews of murder, aggravated robbery, grand theft of a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence and felonious assault.
Mathews was found not guilty of aggravated murder.
His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 20, 2023.
“In homicide cases, there really are no winners,” said Urbana Police Chief Matthew Lingrell in a prepared statement. “Mr. Taylor left a lasting legacy for the many people whose lives he touched throughout his life here in the Urbana community. His loss for our community pales in comparison to the loss his loved ones had to experience and endure with such a long wait for justice.”
More than 10 years of waiting for justice
The Urbana Police Division started an investigation into the attack on Taylor on Oct. 25, 2011, the day he was transported from his Dorothy Moore Avenue home to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. He did not regain consciousness and died of his injuries on Nov. 17, 2011. Taylor underwent several days of emergency care and treatment, but never regained consciousness. Because he died as a result of his injuries, the UPD declared the case a homicide.
“While this case is nine years old, it has always remained on our minds and in our work efforts and we have never lost sight of our duty to Mr. Taylor and his family to find justice for his killing,” Lingrell stated in a news release in 2021 following the indictment.
Urbana officers took custody of Mathews in the Clark County Jail the day following the 2021 indictment. He was in the jail on unrelated charges.
Champaign County Judge Nick Selvaggio did not preside over the trial and Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi did not prosecute the case.
Selvaggio recused himself because he was the county prosecutor at the time of the murder and worked with law enforcement officers on matters related to the case.
The Ohio Supreme Court appointed Judge Dennis Langer to preside over the case.
Talebi reported a potential conflict of interest that would prohibit him from prosecuting the case. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office appointed Anthony D. Pierson as special prosecuting attorney.
History of the case from the UPD
The following historical accounting of the case was released to the Urbana Daily Citizen by Lingrell on Friday evening after the verdict:
“Speaking on behalf of the Urbana Police Division, I’d like to thank the many folks who helped us in this long investigation, either with information or simply words of encouragement for us to remain steadfast and continue our work efforts to find a just closure.
“I’m especially appreciative of the investigative efforts of the Urbana Police Division’s Investigations Unit that began working this case Oct. 25, 2011, and continued with it until (Friday), which started with Lieutenant Seth King (ret.) and current Lieutenant Josh Jacobs, who was a patrol officer at the time of the homicide. These two officers spent a great deal of time involved solely with this investigation, and in my periodic reviews of the case with them, I saw how deeply it impacted them, both professionally and personally.
“In 2020, after meeting with Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi regarding our case, he put us in contact with State Prosecuting Attorneys from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for us to share our investigative files with them. From that moment on, State Prosecuting Attorneys Anthony Pierson, Chris Kinsler and Joel King committed themselves to our case with us and helped us to find finality in our now 10-plus year quest for justice for Mr. Louis Taylor.”