Judge reinstates bond for man implicated in Brittanee Drexel case

(Photo: WCIV/Charleston County Detention Center.) Brittanee Drexel (L), Timothy Da'Shaun Taylor

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) -- A man federal authorities say has knowledge of the disappearance and alleged murder of Brittanee Drexel is again being released from jail.

A federal judge Thursday reinstated bond for Timothy Da'Shaun Taylor, who had been in jail since November 2017 for a parole violation.

Taylor was charged in 2016 a second time for a 2011 armed robbery of a Mount Pleasant McDonald's, this time by federal prosecutors.

Taylor already had been convicted of the robbery and served time for it in state prison when federal authorities announced their charges.

FBI agents have admitted they are seeking a second prison sentence against Taylor in hopes of getting information from him about the Brittanee Drexel case. Drexel disappeared from Myrtle Beach in 2009, and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Taylor has never been formally charged with any crime related to the Drexel case, but the FBI claims Taylor has knowledge of Drexel's death, and may have been there the day Drexel was supposedly killed,

The FBI says a prison informant told them Taylor was present the day Drexel was reportedly raped and murdered at a so-called "trap house" in McClellanville in 2009.

Taylor himself has vehemently denied the allegations, and attorneys for Taylor have presented evidence he was in class at Lincolnville High School when Drexel was supposedly killed.

A judge ruled in July 2017 federal prosecutors were allowed to seek second prosecution of Taylor for the robbery without violating the Constitution's double jeopardy clause, which prevents people from being tried for the same crime twice.

The judge's rationale was based on precedent set by decades old Supreme Court rulings holding the United States and its individual states were separate sovereign powers with overlapping jurisdictions that could each try criminals independently.

As such, Taylor in July 2017 was left with no choice but to plead guilty again to the robbery charges. Three months later, Taylor was arrested after traveling out of Charleston County for work without notifying his parole officer.

Taylor has been in jail ever since, but his attorneys asked Judge David Norton to reconsider bond after sentencing was delayed indefinitely in January 2018.

It has since come out that the delay is related to a Supreme Court case challenging the very same "separate sovereign" rule that has allowed federal authorities to re-prosecute Taylor.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case of Gamble vs. United States in early 2019, Taylor's attorneys believe. If the high court strikes down the separate sovereigns case law, the federal government may be forced to abandon its case against Taylor.

As part of Judge Norton's decision Thursday to reinstate Taylor's bond pending the outcome of Gamble vs. United States, Taylor will be released under house arrest, and required to wear an ankle monitor.

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