Cassandra Smith Convicted of DUI Manslaughter In The Death Of Charlotte County Christopher Taylor

Punta Gorda –The jury has delivered its verdict in the trial of Cassandra Smith, following deliberations that extended into the early afternoon on Friday.

Smith has been found guilty on charges of DUI manslaughter, injury to a person, vehicular homicide, and DUI damage to property. The conviction stems from an incident where Smith, driving under the influence, struck and fatally injured 23-year-old Charlotte County deputy Christopher Taylor on a Friday afternoon.

During the trial, it was revealed that Smith’s blood alcohol level was .25, exceeding three times the legal limit of .08. Despite her defense attorney’s arguments suggesting that the State was exploiting the tragedy to influence the jury emotionally, and asserting a lack of sufficient evidence proving impairment, the jury rendered a guilty verdict.

The defense attorney emphasized the tragic nature of the incident but urged the jury to set aside emotional reactions and focus on the evidence. The defense maintained that there were discrepancies and inconsistencies in the case that needed careful consideration to avoid mistakes and errors in judgment.

In response, the prosecution countered by highlighting the tangible evidence, including a blood test and video footage, which they argued unequivocally demonstrated that Smith caused Taylor’s death on November 22, 2022. The attorney urged the jury to objectively consider the facts, emphasizing that emotional responses should not overshadow the concrete evidence presented in the case.