LORAIN — Homicide victim Lamar “Mark” Taylor had been divorced from Vicki Moore since 2007, but the two remained close so when she asked him in January to move back in to help take care of her mentally disabled son, he agreed.
“That’s what kind of person Mark was,” Moore said Sunday, hours after police said Taylor, 52, was found beaten to death around 2:55 a.m. in the front yard of a house at 1964 E. 34th St., just a couple of doors down from Moore’s home.
Police arrested Lorain residents Clarence Adams III and Austin Diaz shortly after the killing and charged them with murder.
Adams, 21, of the 3900 block of West Erie Avenue, and Diaz, 18, who lived across the street from Taylor in the 1900 block of East 34th Street, were both being held at the Lorain City Jail late Sunday without bond. Both are due in Lorain Municipal Court today.
“They killed a father and a grandfather,” Moore said. “He was my best friend.”
Witness Jose Torres told police he was riding in car in the 1900 block of East 34th, with a few men including Diaz and a man believed to be Adams, according to a police report. Torres said one of the men said he wanted to assault a man walking down the street and everyone but Torres approached the man.
“Torres then heard a loud smacking sound and he saw some of the individuals who were in the car violently assaulting the male,” the report said. “Torres yelled at the suspects to stop assaulting the male or he was going to call police and one of the individuals responded, ‘If you don’t shut the (expletive) up, you’re next.’ ”
Torres said he ran to his cousin’s house in the 1800 block of East 32nd Street, and his cousin called police. Police found Taylor shortly afterward.
Moore, 45, said she last spoke with Taylor around 10 p.m. Saturday when he said he was going out with friends. Before Taylor left, neighbor Luis Licieur said Taylor agreed to help him with a painting job on Tuesday. “He said, ‘Fine, I’ll see you Tuesday morning,’ ” Licieur said.
Taylor known as Mark to his friends and relatives, had asthma and didn’t work full time, but frequently worked as a painter and landscaper. Residents said he did odd jobs around the neighborhood.
“He was always working,” said Licieur’s fiancee, a tearful Elsie Rodriguez, who said she had known Taylor two or three years. “A nice guy.”
Moore, 45, said she and Taylor married in 2001 and he treated her 20-year-old son, Joe Lane, as his own and called about him regularly after the divorce. Moore said Lane had been misbehaving, so Taylor agreed to move back from Cleveland where he grew up.
Taylor was a graduate of East High School in Cleveland and the father of a daughter and two sons, said his daughter, Marquetta Brown.
Brown, 33, described her father as hardworking and said they regularly spoke after he divorced her mother in 1987. She recalled how she sang with her father as a child and how he had asked that her 10-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter visit him this summer.
“He was a good dad,” Brown said. “He took care of us.”
The report didn’t say whether Taylor knew Adams or Diaz. Adams was convicted of disorderly conduct in 2009 and burglary in March. Diaz has no criminal record in Lorain Municipal Court or Lorain County Common Pleas Court.
Taylor had convictions for domestic violence in 2002 and 2005 and possession of cocaine in 2006.
Edwin Vasquez, Diaz’s grandfather, said he last saw his grandson around 2 a.m., when Diaz went out and borrowed Vasquez’s Honda, which is the car police said the suspects were found nearby.
Diaz’s cousin, Jose Montanez, said Diaz is “a good kid” but has had disciplinary problems since his mother died in 2007. “He’s been drifting away slowly,” Montanez said.
Adams’ family couldn’t be reached for comment.
Police wouldn’t comment Sunday to The Chronicle-Telegram on the motive for the killing, but Moore said detectives told her Taylor was “an innocent bystander.” She expressed dismay over the circumstances of the killing.
“Nobody deserved that,” Moore said. “Because they want to beat somebody up you’re going to kill a father and a grandfather?”
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.