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Man held without bond after DNA links him to 2012 murder case

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A Madison County man was ordered to be held without bond in a Madison County Jail Wednesday morning after being arraigned on charges in a 2012 murder case. Jackson police said they believe a second person was involved.

Craig Markeem Taylor, 21, was arraigned Wednesday, via video feed, in Jackson City Court on charges of first-degree murder of 24-year-old Devon Staten during the perpetration of attempted aggravated robbery and attempted aggravated robbery of Staten’s girlfriend.

Taylor’s preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for next week.

According to an affidavit of complaint, on Nov. 15, 2012, around 4:55 p.m., Staten's girlfriend had arrived at the home she shared with Staten, located at 173 Lealand Lane. Staten’s girlfriend had taken some food in the house and came back outside to retrieve her son when a armed masked man came from the side of her duplex and approached her. While pointing his gun at Staten’s girlfriend, he ordered her to go inside her home.

Staten’s girlfriend screamed and fell to the ground, which caused Staten, who was inside the home, to come outside with a gun to help his girlfriend, the affidavit said. Staten exchanged gunfire with the suspect. Staten was struck and died as a result of his injuries.

Officers searched the area, in which the robber had run, and found a camouflage mask. Staten's girlfriend identified the mask as the one the robber had worn, Jackson police said.

Investigators sent the mask to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for DNA analysis and the lab developed a DNA profile from the mask.

Police said during the course of the investigation, Craig Taylor was developed as a suspect and in January, investigators obtained a sample of Taylor's DNA and submitted it to the crime lab for comparison.

On April 25, the lab contacted investigators and informed them that Taylor's DNA profile had been matched to the previously unknown DNA profile on the mask.

On April 28, investigators from the Jackson Police Department’s Major Crimes Bureau signed a warrant for Taylor's arrest and the task force searched for Taylor to serve the arrest warrant.

Taylor was arrested around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday on the 2100 block of N. Highland Avenue by the U.S. Marshals Task Force and transported to the Madison County Jail.

The task force is compromised of deputy U.S. Marshals and investigators from the Jackson Police Department's Gang Unit and Metro Narcotics Unit, according to police.

During his arraignment, Taylor said he had no other case pending but was on probation for theft under $500.

He also told Judge Blake Anderson that he has family in Jackson, was working at Pilot and had no drug, alcohol or mental problems.

Following the arraignment, Jackson Police Captain Tyreece Miller said, “I just hope this arrest serves notice to the public that we worked tirelessly around the clock to identify and arrest the person responsible for Mr. Staten’s murder.”

Miller added, “We believe there is no crime more serious than murder and we will continue to work endlessly to solve all murders, not just this murder.”