The murder conviction in a 2006 incident that took the life of a 19-year-old Milton High School graduate, was upheld in Suffolk County Court.
In 2008, Rodrick Taylor, now 41 years old, was found guilty of second degree strangling of Dominique Samuels on April 28, 2006, and then setting her remains on fire in Franklin Park.
On Wednesday, the Appeals Court affirmed the conviction.
“Dominique’s life was snuffed out by one man, one vicious man who would do anything to avoid accountability for his actions,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a press release. “Today, the Appeals Court affirmed his conviction for murder and denied him a new trial. The evidence was strong, the case was tried expertly, and justice was done for a young woman taken too soon. I’m very proud of the men and women who fought so hard on her behalf.”
With a full seven weeks of testimony, the trial was one of the longest homicide trials in Suffolk County history.
The appeal was on the grounds that Taylor’s right to a speedy trial was violated. The Appeals Court found that the defense agreed to more than a year of delays.
The Appeals Court also rejected Taylor’s claim that the prosecutor’s closing arguments were improper.
“The prosecutor’s criticisms of the defense were a reasonable response to defense counsel’s arguments,” Justices Sydney Hanlon, R. Marc Kantrowitz, and Gary Katzmann wrote. “Moreover, the comments about the strength of the evidence and the defendant’s whereabouts at the time that he called [a prosecution witness] were proper rejoinders.”