In May of 2000, five employees of a Wendy's in Flushing were killed in the basement, while two others were injured. John Taylor and Craig Godineaux were arrested and charged with the murders. While Godineaux pleaded guilty to the crimes and is serving a life sentence without parole, Taylor, a former Wendy's employee, was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 2002.
In the years since Taylor's sentence, the NY State Court of Appeals ruled, per the Daily News, that the "death penalty law, as written, was unconstitutional." And because the state Legislature never amended the law, the death penalty was eliminated. Now Taylor's lawyer is appealing his death sentence in hopes of life in prison instead.
Taylor is the only prisoner in the Unit for Condemned Persons at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY (the AP has details on his living conditions)All other death sentences since 2004 have been overturned to lesser sentences. However, Queens DA Richard Brown will argue that the 2004 decision only applied to overturning a different death sentence and has no bearing on Taylor's case.
Taylor's lawyer Kevin Doyle has said, "There is no question he is guilty of capital murder..The only thing we are contesting is the death sentence... My prediction is that the Court of Appeals will follow precedent and will resentence him to spend the rest of his life in prison without a chance at parole. The death penalty in New York is over."
Interesting fact: David Kaczynski, brother of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, is the head of New Yorkers Against the death Penalty.