Parents plead not guilty to murder of decapitated kids

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Parents plead not guilty to murder of decapitated kids

Two California parents pleaded not guilty to charges related to the gruesome murders of two of their children, whose decapitated bodies were left for days with their surviving siblings.

Maurice Taylor, Sr., 35, and Natalie Brothwell, 45, are facing murder charges for the 2020 killings of son Maurice Jr., 12, and daughter Maliaka, 13. The couple is also facing child abuse charges for their two sons, ages 8 and 9, who were shown the bodies of their siblings and locked in a room without food, prosecutors said.

The couple pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, Fox 11 said.

Taylor, a personal trainer in Santa Monica, had been holding virtual sessions with clients from his Lancaster home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some customers alerted cops to a possible gas leak when they hadn’t heard from him in several days.

On Nov. 29, 2020, Los Angeles County firefighters found the headless bodies of the children. Taylor was arrested and prosecutors later accused him of decapitating the kids, then forcing the two younger children to live in view of their remains for five days.

Taylor had told a court in December 2020 that he wanted to represent himself in his trial, which led an LA County judge to order a mental competency exam, according to the news site Law and Crime.

“I’ve taken criminal justice classes, and I know my rights,” Taylor said in court, after citing religious reasons for wanting to represent himself. “I’ve been seriously abused in prison. There’s a hit out for me right now that I have proof for. I literally have proof on that, and there’s a lot of foul play going on, and I would prefer to represent myself because I think that that’s the best way to go in this matter.”

Maliaka (left) and Maurice Jr.
Authorities found Maliaka (left) and Maurice Jr. decapitated five days after their alleged murder.
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The criminal proceedings were later reinstated, Fox 11 reported.

Authorities at first said Brothwell wasn’t a suspect but the mom was arrested in September 2021 and slapped with the same charges as Taylor. Brothwell had been living in Arizona at the time of her arrest.

Both of the accused remain behind bars with bail set at $4.2 million and are due back in court on Feb. 15, Fox said.

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