OCALA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - One of the FBI’s Most Wanted is locked up in the Marion County Jail. William Claybourne “Clay” Taylor was on the run for 39 years, accused of trying to kill the mayor of Williston nearly four decades ago.
In 1977, police say Taylor and another man shot Walter Scott and Eugene Bailey – former mayor of the small town of Williston. Scott was killed, Bailey barely survived.
Bailey’s granddaughter, Debra Jones, remembers that day.
“It was a miracle, they shot him three times. First in the face, broke his jaw. And in the chest and stomach. He’d lost a lot of blood, because he was in the middle of nowhere when it happened,” she says.
Jones says Taylor’s older brother, Raymond, a local attorney they knew, had plotted the attack.
“My grandfather was wealthy and had no will at the time. Mr. Taylor knew that. He thought that if he died he’d be the one chosen by the family to be the executor of the estate and do the probate and earn a lot of money doing that.”
Raymond Taylor was found guilty of his role in the crime, but Williston Police say Clay skipped town before he could be tried.
“Part of the bond procedure was that he was to report to ocala. He bonded and has been on the run ever since,” Williston Chief Dennis Strow said.
Neither Strow, nor Jones thought this day would ever come.
“When I got the phone call from the FBI, or actually State Attorney’s Office, saying we have him located, I thought, 'No, really? After all this time?'” Strow said.
“That morning, when the called my mother, and told her they’d arrested him –- here come the chills –- she was beside herself. She was finishing her breakfast and they called her up and told her guess what: we caught Clay Taylor. She couldn’t believe it – she made ‘em say it again!” Jones said.
The FBI has not disclosed what led them to find Taylor, living under an assumed name in North Carolina. But Bailey’s family is looking forward to his day in court.
“This man has lived a life that Mr. Scott as not lived and that my grandfather didn’t live much past himself, because he was never the same. So it’s time to bring him to justice.”
Taylor is being held without bond. His next appearance in court is set for September 13.