Wesley Bell credits cooperation with county police for arrests in murder plot

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CLAYTON, Mo. – On Wednesday, a 36-year-old former teacher’s assistant and his 66-year-old boyfriend were charged with plotting to kill a young boy and his mother to keep them from testifying in an upcoming child sodomy case.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell credits cooperation between his office and the county police department for the arrests.

Deonte Taylor was previously charged with sodomizing a then-7-year-old boy at Hazelwood Elementary School in November 2015.

Between February 7 and February 26 this year, Taylor and Michael Johnson agreed to pay a confidential informer to kill the boy and his mom.

“A resident came to us with information about this, so we reached out and partnered with St. Louis County law enforcement and they did an excellent job and we worked together,” Bell said.

“It’s really sad...the ball was dropped previously to us coming in and as soon as we were made aware of it, we started with our investigation and filed charges.”

County police set up a sting and brought Taylor and Johnson into custody. They’re being held without bail at the St. Louis County Jail.

“Great work from prosecutors and great work from officers in St. Louis County. We were able to stop that crime, the family is safe, and the perpetrators are being charged and held accountable,” Bell said.

The prosecuting attorney said that community policing is key and this stopped a crime.

“It’s the reason when you have good outcomes like this and we're able to stop crime before it happens,” Bell said. “This is why you sign up for the job.”

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