Chandler man kills homeless woman who wouldn’t leave alley, court docs say

James A. Taylor, 40, was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a woman in an alley behind...
James A. Taylor, 40, was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a woman in an alley behind his Chandler home.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 2:49 PM MST
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CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — A man accused of killing a woman last week reportedly told Chandler police he shot her because she wouldn’t leave the alley behind his home. He told police he was also upset over a failed suicide attempt.

James A. Taylor, 40, was arrested early Friday afternoon, a few hours after the deadly shooting. Around 9:30 a.m., police responded to reports of shots fired in the area of West Fairview Street, near Arizona Avenue and Pecos Road. Officers found a woman, later identified as Jessica Luz, with several gunshot wounds lying in an alley behind a home. She was taken to a hospital, where she later died. Police say Luz was homeless and known to frequent the area.

A witness told officers they saw a man yelling at Luz to get out of the alley before he shot her. Based on the witness description and other records, police identified Taylor as the suspect. The alley is right behind the backyard of the home where Taylor lives. Officers, including SWAT, surrounded the home and talked to Taylor over the phone.

Per court documents, he immediately asked if Luz had died and then began making suicidal statements, including making threats of suicide by a cop. He eventually gave up and was arrested around 12:30 p.m. After his arrest, court papers say Taylor told investigators that he was upset after a failed suicide attempt overnight. He said that later in the morning, his dogs started barking at a woman in the alley and that he had asked her to leave, police papers say.

When she refused, Taylor told police that he went back inside and retrieved a 9mm handgun. When she again refused to leave, court papers say Taylor told detectives he shot her once and again two more times after she fell to the ground. Documents say Taylor asked for the death penalty or for police to kill him. He has been jailed on murder and weapons charges.