News Releases

May 8, 2017: Two Men Found Guilty in 2001 Murder-for-Hire of Pregnant Woman

Ricardo Santiago, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A man accused of arranging the murder of his pregnant girlfriend more than a decade ago and the hired hitman were both convicted today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced.

Derek Paul Smyer, 36, was found guilty today of one count each of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of murder for financial gain and multiple murders, second-degree murder and conspiracy and two counts of solicitation of murder.

A separate jury found Skyler Jefferson Moore, 35, guilty today of two counts of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of lying in wait and multiple murders and one count of conspiracy.

Deputy District Attorneys Danette Meyers and Rosa Zavala prosecuted case SA079068.

The penalty phase to determine whether the jury will recommend the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole for Moore is scheduled to begin on May 10 in Department 101 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Sentencing for Smyer is scheduled on June 1. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In August 2001, Smyer became upset when he learned his girlfriend Crystal Dejuanna Taylor, 27, was pregnant and refused to have an abortion, according to court testimony. Smyer then arranged for Moore to kill her, prosecutors said.

The victim was fatally shot on Sept. 25, 2001 in her Hawthorne apartment. She was between 21 and 22-weeks pregnant at the time, prosecutors added.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.