On Monday, the news broke that West Virginia man Benjamin Taylor had allegedly committed an unthinkable crime; less than a day later a petition was created to publicly hang him for the horrific and ultimately deadly abuse he reportedly inflicted on a 9-month-old baby. What did 32-year-old Benjamin Taylor do that was so terrible? According to West Virginia police, Taylor raped his girlfriend’s infant daughter literally to death in one of the most vile and incomprehensible sex crimes responding officers had ever seen.
When the petition to hang Benjamin Taylor was originally created, his 9-month-old victim, Emmaleigh Elizabeth Barringer was barely clinging to life in a local hospital, reports Fox 13 Now. She was soon to be pronounced brain dead as a result of the violent sexual and physical assault she endured, allegedly at the hands of Benjamin Taylor. By Wednesday, the infant was removed from life support. As the charges against Benjamin Taylor were expanded from first-degree sexual assault to include murder (a crime that in West Virginia carries a maximum sentence of life in prison) as well, the petition to hang Benjamin Taylor continued to collect signatures in the tens of thousands.
By Friday, the highly-successful petition, which was launched on the White House’s official website, had gathered more than 50,000 signatures. However, just as suddenly as it was created by an infuriated citizen identified only as “J.R.,” the petition to hang Benjamin Taylor for his alleged crimes was suddenly no more. As you can see by clicking here, according to the White House’s website, the petition was removed for a Terms of Service violation. No other explanation was or has been given for the removal of the incredibly popular viral petition.
According to the creator of the petition, the criminal justice system does not adequately punish child rapists, and (particularly in cases as violent and egregious as the case of Benjamin Taylor), something more needs to be done.
“Prison is too good for child rapists and their ilk. I would move to say that our ‘justice system’ is even a part of the problem, in that incarceration is hardly justice when it comes to such an awful act… Let us hang these creatures publicly. Let us make examples of them, and allow the American people to attend these hangings so that the accused may be ridiculed.”
@_TheRevelator Hell, in my eyes a lynching is still too merciful.I reckon if the public was free to punish him, he would receive much worse.— Appalachian Son (@KinFolkFirst) October 7, 2016
@LeslieRubinWCHS ???? This is the worst story ever. At least that precious baby won't ever feel pain again.— Jill (@JillChristinaWV) October 5, 2016
Dear Jackson Co. Morons defending the disgusting person named Benjamin Taylor:— Sister Sunflower (@SunflowerVenom) October 4, 2016
Evidence is evidence. He is sick. He is horrible. So are you.
The terms of the White House’s petition program would have forced the White House to respond to the petition to hang Benjamin Taylor if it had gathered at least 100,000 signatures in 30 days, or by November 4. With its current traction, the petition to hang Benjamin Taylor almost certainly would have collected the requisite number of signatures. However, now that the petition has been cancelled (and not by its creator or supporters), the White House is off the hook.
While the White House has apparently declined to allow the petition to move forward, the family of Benjamin Taylor’s tiny victim is pulling no punches in calling Taylor out for the crimes he has been charged with committing. Benjamin Taylor has changed his story over the course of the investigation, reports CBS News. Initially, the 32-year-old claimed that he had blacked out while alone in the basement with little Emmaleigh; since his arrest he has proclaimed and maintained his innocence.
Emmaleigh’s family released a statement Thursday that makes their opinion of Benjamin Taylor and his alleged actions abundantly clear.
“We would like to assure anyone with any doubt that this crime against an innocent child was solely perpetrated by a monster who had disguised himself as a caring and supporting friend. Emmaleigh’s mother and surviving siblings were victims in this and are guilty only of placing trust in the hands of a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing.'”
Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs has called the sexual assault of little Emmaleigh, which included the 9-month-old being beaten violently in the face and head, the worst he’s ever seen in his entire career.
“I have not and hope to never again. I don’t know of any normal human that could fathom what would possess somebody to do that.”
Early Monday morning, Emmaleigh Barringer’s mother awoke to find both the baby and her boyfriend Benjamin Taylor not in their beds. Reportedly, she made the horrific discovery of finding her nude 9-month-old daughter in the basement with her boyfriend; the baby battered, bloody, unconscious and unresponsive. The baby’s mother immediately called 911. When first responders got to the home, they found Benjamin Taylor at the scene of the sexual assault, reportedly wiping blood from his crotch and claiming that he had no recollection of what happened between himself and his girlfriend’s tiny daughter.
A few hours later, as Emmaleigh lay in a hospital struggling to survive, Benjamin Taylor was booked on the first-degree sexual assault charges.
While at least 50,000 strangers and the victim’s family are demanding appropriate justice for little Emmaleigh, as indicated by the now-defunct petition to publicly hang Benjamin Taylor, capital punishment doesn’t exist in West Virginia and hasn’t for decades. At this point, it seems unlikely that Taylor will face a punishment any harsher than a lifetime of incarceration if he is convicted.
While the petition to publicly hang Benjamin Taylor has apparently been shut down by the moderators of the White House’s official website, the efforts of those who supported it may not have been in vain. According to reports, at least one West Virginia legislator has promised to draft a bill that would reintroduce the death penalty in the state during the next legislative session.
A funeral for little Emmaleigh has reportedly been scheduled for October 17. Anyone who signed (or didn’t sign) the petition to hang Benjamin Taylor and who wants to show their support for the family can do so at their GoFundMe page.
[Featured Image by South Central Regional Jail]