Baltimore man sentenced to life for strangling boss zHC

September 28, 1991

Donald W. Taylor Jr. was sentenced under Maryland's "three-time loser" law to life without parole yesterday for the Dec. 4 beating and strangulation of his boss, the owner of a Timonium print shop who was five months' pregnant with her first child.

Taylor, 25, of the 1800 block of Etting Street in Baltimore, was on parole from an armed robbery conviction at the time of the murder and apparently killed Betty Lewellen "Lew" Masenior to avoid being sent back to prison.

He also had a city conviction for assault with intent to rob, Baltimore County Circuit Judge J. William Hinkel noted in applying the "three-time loser" provision.

In a largely circumstantial case, the prosecution presented witnesses who saw Taylor at the print shop early that morning, and a handwriting expert to prove that Taylor cashed five stolen checks totaling almost $1,600 from the Print Shack in the 2000 block of York Road, where he was a pressman. He was also convicted of five counts of forgery and of theft on each check.

Before sentencing, Taylor faced two rows of members of the victim's family and said, "I want you to know that I did not kill her. Lew is one of the most beautiful people that I ever met in my life. . . . All I can say is my heart goes out to all of you."

Family members afterward said that they were satisfied with the sentence, although one asked, "Don't they always deny it?"

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