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Dad Found Guilty Of Hitman Murder Of Pregnant Girlfriend May Have Hired Man Who Attacked Mother Of His Other Two Kids During Her Pregnancies

Photo: Mirror
Crystal Taylor

A jury found Derek Smyer guilty Oct. 21 of the double homicide in the 2001 contract killing of his girlfriend and their unborn child. 

According to prosecutors, the 36-year-old Los Angeles man hired 35-year-old Skyler Moore to kill 27-year-old Crystal Taylor because she refused to have an abortion. She was 22 weeks pregnant when she was found dead in her apartment complex. 

Smyer and Moore allegedly met in Redondo Beach while playing basketball, and hired him to shoot Taylor. Moore was reportedly "eager" to murder the mom-to-be so he could build up his reputation as a hitman. 

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Smyer's conviction took more than 15 years to secure due to a judge declaring a mistrial in 2011. Moore admitted to killing Taylor when he was approached by a cold case detective a decade after her death while he was serving a life sentence for another crime. 

Daily Mail

He admitted to being hired for the murder when investigators offered to improve his prisons conditions, but he later withdrew his testimony, saying he didn't want to help convict an "innocent person." 

However, prosecutors told the jury that Taylor wasn't the first woman Smyer tried to take out. He has two children with a woman named Traci Williamson — and she was attacked by an unknown assailant during each of her pregnancies. 

"That relationship had domestic violence written all over it," Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers said during the trial. "He pleaded with her to have an abortion."

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In the first attack, a man cut Williamson's throat with a knife. During the second attack, she was kicked and punched in the stomach. Thankfully, she and her children survived both attacks. 

Both of his children were living with him at the time of his arrest for Taylor's murder. 

Daily Mail

He was found guilty Saturday of second-degree murder in Taylor's killing and first-degree murder in the murder of the fetus, along with two counts of solicitation of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit a crime. He still maintains his innocence and plans on appealing the verdict. 

Moore faces a potential death penalty sentence. 

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).