Florida: Brent Taylor pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter for killing motorcyclist James Thorndyke

Florida Highway Patrol

Florida Highway Patrol

From Panama City News-Herald

PANAMA CITY – 01/13/2016 — A local man involved in a fatal drunken crash with a parked motorcyclist has laid himself at the mercy of the court, according to court records.

Brent Alexander Taylor, 20, entered a plea of no contest Jan. 7 to DUI manslaughter in connection with the December 2014 death of 33-year-old James E. Thorndyke, who was killed while taking a break from riding his motorcycle along State 77.

The court accepted the plea as authorities perform an investigation in preparation for Taylor’s sentence hearing. However, the sentence will not come as a result of negotiations with the prosecution, but rather solely at the discretion of the judge in the case, court records indicated.

Several friends of Thorndyke, also known as “Bizkit,” have filed correspondence with Judge Brantley Clark Jr., calling for the maximum penalty. One went as far as to say that Taylor “deserves no mercy.”

Prosecutor Bob Sombathy said Taylor entered his plea directly with the court after the State Attorney’s Office did not budge on punishment negotiations. Sombathy said he did not offer Taylor a plea agreement because of the strength of the evidence against him in the case and the desire of Thorndyke’s family to pursue the maximum penalty.

Taylor could face between 10 and 15 years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 4.

According to Florida Highway Patrol reports, Taylor continued driving ….MORE

James Thorndyke


James Edward “BIZKIT” Thorndyke,
age 33, was taken from this earthly stop and rests in the arms of our loving Lord Jesus. James was killed on Sunday morning while standing beside one of his favorite enjoyments, his 2008 Harley-Davidson Road King. To all who knew “Bizkit”, his quick wit, willingness to help a friend or stranger in need and his love of his family and friends will be deeply missed. James was born December 6, 1981 in Hampton, VA to Kenneth and Judy Batte Thorndyke. At three months of age he traveled to Budapest, Hungary with his parents and sister. He was always “brother” to his sister and kids in the neighborhood. As a child, he traveled and lived in Europe, Mississippi, and finally called Florida home. He was a graduate of the first class of Arnold High school in 2001, and originally attended Bay High School (sometimes known as Cornfed in school). He went on to work with the City of Panama City Beach, as a Class C Waste Water operator (or as he would say “a hockeyologist”). He celebrated his 33rd birthday on Saturday night with a bonfire and PLENTY of FRIENDS. His time was spent on the creek with friends, riding his motorcycle, taking his nephew fishing and talking with him were all so very important to him. He was also an active member of Shaddai Temple, and Pythagoras Lodge, and attended other Masonic Lodges in the area. He is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents Earl and Iris Thorndyke his maternal grandparents Otho and Barbra Batte, his father’s foster parents Charles and Nancy Brown and nephew Matthew Croyl. He is survived by his mother Judy and father Kenneth Thorndyke of Panama City Beach, FL, his sister Kenndra Thorndyke Croyl (Adam) and nephew Brayden of Phoenix, AZ, Uncles Karl Thorndyke of Chicago, IL and Otho Roy Batte (Linda) Brewton, AL, Aunts Sara Davis (Dale) of Okemah, OK, Patricia Walker (Jerry) of Kiln, MS, numerous cousins, also mourn his passing. He is rejoicing with friends and family that have preceded him. He will be missed by family and friends that love him here. Bizkit was a casual guy and would want nothing less for his memorial than leather vests, jeans, boots, shorts or flip flops, and are all good. If you knew James “Bizkit” Thorndyke you knew you had a friend! In lieu of flowers, give live plants, or make donations to Shriners Children Hospital in memory of James Thorndyke. The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Friday, December 12, 2014 at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 219 Alf Coleman Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32407. Funeral services will begin at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, December. 13, 2014, at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, with Pastor Joe Lay officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations to Shriners Children Hospital in memory of James Thorndyke.

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