Three arrested in connection with murder of KPFK reporter

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Three men have been arrested and charged with the murder of Michael Taylor, a former Pacifica reporter who was attempting to start a micro-power radio station in Los Angeles.

Police confirmed that the execution-style slaying in April was related to Taylor’s recent-months’ effort to launch and get backing for L.A. Liberation Radio. Los Angeles homicide detective Alex Moreno said he believes the young men shot Taylor because they wanted the transmitter kit Taylor and his colleagues had purchased for the unlicensed, underground station.

According to news reports, the three men, Andrew Lancaster, 23, Shawn Alexander, 19, and Jornay Rodriguez, 20, were scheduled to enter pleas at a May 23 arraignment. Because the murder allegedly involved kidnapping and robbery, the men could face the death penalty.

Friends indicate Taylor was murdered because he tried to cut off dealings with one or more individuals involved in the radio project. Bob Marston, a former KPFK programmer who was going to build the transmitter, says he became distrustful of a “suspicious” person who had hooked up with the station. The man put a lot of pressure on the group to move the project forward, appearing to have a timeline, Marston says. “I had met several times with this individual. I became distrustful and said I wasn’t going to deal with [him]. … Toward the end, in the last two weeks, Michael decided to pull out of it, too.”

Shortly before Taylor’s murder, Marston says, Taylor received a call from another individual, “telling him to tell me that if they didn’t get their equipment, things would get rough.”

It’s not clear what role the three men arrested had in developing the station or if one of them is the individual Marston distrusted.

According to the L.A. Weekly, police on May 7 spotted Taylor’s Volkswagen “Bug” at an intersection, painted a new color. It was being driven by Alexander, who was taken into custody. Police arrested the other two men the next day.

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