A man in Maryland has been arrested and charged in the death of a father of three who authorities say was severely beaten in his front yard while protecting his children from a middle school fight that made its way back to the family’s home in May.
Trevor Garrett Taylor, 26, stands accused of manslaughter, three counts of assault in the second degree, and one count each of affray – a little-charged common law offense that means any kind of public fight that inspires terror in onlookers – and disorderly conduct, according to the Anne Arundel County Police Department.
In a press release, the AACPD said the case was presented to the state attorney’s office for review. The defendant was arrested on a warrant issued by a court commissioner on Tuesday.
On May 20, Christopher Michael Wright, 43, died from a traumatic brain injury. The underlying violence occurred the day before – beginning at Brooklyn Park Middle School – when Wright’s 14-year-old son got into a fight with another teenager, Taylor’s nephew, police allege in charging documents obtained by the Capital Gazette.
The younger Wright, apparently not interested in the fight, which is said to have been over $30, headed home and went inside.
But law enforcement says it wasn’t just another teenager who followed the Wright boy back to his residence on Arundel Road West in Brooklyn. The AACPD originally described the suspects in the case as three to four white males in their 20s and 30s.
Meanwhile, his father, unaware of what was happening at first, was out front gardening at the time, police say.
Christopher Wright then allegedly went into his house, quizzed his son about what was happening, and returned to the front yard. That’s when Taylor allegedly confronted the elder Wright and threatened him – demanding the boys be allowed to finish their fight.
The stay-at-home dad said that wasn’t happening.
That denial allegedly enraged Taylor and his crew – and the other boy’s uncle allegedly threatened to enter the Wright residence.
“[I]t became clear to the Wright family that Trevor Taylor and his associates were not going to leave and were likely going to force their way into the house and force an assault against them,” police wrote in a charging document.
As the threats continued, police say, Wright punched Taylor in the face. A brawl ensued, and the defendant allegedly used a pin-down maneuver – causing the victim to fall to the ground and his head to hit the pavement. Police say Taylor punched Wright four times in the face after that before finally fleeing the scene.
Wright’s death was eventually ruled a homicide by blunt force trauma.
Law enforcement took some time sorting out the order of events, a police spokesperson told local ABC affiliate WMAR.
“Adults from one side went to the child’s house on the other side, and that’s when this altercation started, first, verbally, and then obviously a physical altercation ensued between the adults later,” Anne Arundel County Police Lt. Jacklyn Davis told the TV station. “What detectives found was that the decedent, in this case, did throw the first physical punch in this altercation, so there was a lot of debate around the duty to retreat versus self-defense and everything that goes into a case that’s this involved.”
In comments to the Gazette, defense attorney Edward Middlebrooks said Taylor had a “completely different” perspective on what happened at the Wright house on that fateful day in late May.
On Wednesday, the defendant was detained without bail – with the court citing his influence on the children involved and ultimately finding him a threat to public safety.
“I’m sure if everyone could go back, hopefully, they would act differently,” Anne Arundel District Judge Sidney Butcher said in comments reported by the Gazette. “What I’m trying to understand is…why he went to that house.”
Wright is remembered by his family as a devoted father, his fiancee’s best friend, a man who loved stargazing and had a knack for gardening. A GoFundMe describes him as an “amazing father and life partner.”
“He was a friend to everybody,” Wright’s fiancée, Tracy Karopchinsky, told local CBS affiliate WJZ. “I mean, just the outpour we’ve been getting from friends and just, they’re really, really gonna miss out on somebody with a really big heart. He loved beyond.”
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Arrest made in murder of father Christopher Wright
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