'Blood doesn't lie,' Life-plus-30-year sentence given in Gaston rape, murder

'Blood doesn't lie,' Life-plus-30-year sentence given in Gaston rape, murder

GASTON, SC (WIS) - The 44-year-old man arrested for the 2015 rape and murder of a 60-year-old woman has been sentenced to Life plus 30 years in prison.

Peter Lynn Coffey was sentenced after an hour and a half deliberation by the jury before returning a guilty verdict of murder and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree against Joanne Taylor.

A family friend had gone to check on Taylor in August of 2015. The friend had to break a window to enter the house and found Taylor's body before calling police. Investigators learned that Taylor had been beaten to death. The autopsy revealed that Taylor suffered 21 blows to the head with a small sledge hammer that was found covered in blood next to Taylor's body.

The autopsy also revealed that the rape occurred at or near the time of death.

"Blood doesn't lie," Assistant Solicitor Bradley Pogue said in opening statements during the trial.

Taylor's blood was found on a pair of shorts collected from Coffey's washing machine and Coffey's blood was found on the shower curtain in Taylor's house.

Testimony revealed that Coffey used Taylor's cell phone on August 8, 2015, twice. Taylor reportedly was knocked unconscious by the first blow to her head, but that did not stop Coffey from striking her 20 more times.

Coffey was previously a registered sex offender.

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