Body-burning killer convicted

July 11, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH

The man who strangled a Roxbury woman to death in 2006 and burned her body in Franklin Park was convicted last week of second-degree murder.

Rodrick James Taylor, 37, was automatically sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

The victim, 19-year-old Dominique Samuels, lived with a roommate who knew Taylor. On April 28, 2006, Taylor visited the house as a guest of the roommate.

When Samuels entered the kitchen to make a cup of noodles, she saw Taylor playing video games by himself and decided to join him. For unknown reasons, Taylor attacked Samuels. He strangled her to death as she fought back, severely scratching him.

Taylor hid her body in her room for two days, leaving a stereo on so it sounded like she was still alive. Then he took the body to a wooded area of Franklin Park behind the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital at 170 Morton St. and burned it with gasoline, causing flames to leap at least 15 feet high. A park visitor found the body.

Taylor was arrested less than two weeks later after making comments to another resident of the house indicating his guilt.

The trial was one of the longest in Suffolk County history, with six weeks of testimony and five days of jury deliberations, according to District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Jake Wark. He attributed its unusual length in part to an aggressive defense featuring a lot of cross-examination by Taylor’s attorney.

The longest trial was a 2005 kidnapping and murder case involving six co-defendants, Wark said. That trial also lasted six weeks, but did not include half-days and holidays as Taylor’s trial did.

Franklin Park was the scene of a body-dumping again this year, when two men reportedly tossed a corpse from a car onto Franklin Park Road across from the Franklin Park Golf Course. The Boston Police Department is investigating that May 3 incident as a homicide. No arrests or charges have been announced.