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Woman charged with murder in connection with Columbia teen’s shooting death

CPD north columbia
ABC 17 News
At least six Columbia police vehicles responded to a residence on Doris Drive in north Columbia on Wednesday night.


Prosecutors on Friday charged a woman in connection with the Feb. 5 deadly shooting of a 17-year-old in north Columbia.

Gracie Dian Avery, 20, of Columbia is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Joseph Valention Taylor.

According to court documents, officers responded to the 1400 block of Doris Drive to a reported home invasion. When officers arrived the man who lived there told police two males broke into the home and he shot one of the intruders.

The man told officers one of the people who broke into the home set down a gun, which he then grabbed and used to shoot 17-year-old Joseph Valention Taylor, according to court documents.

The man who lived at the home also told police he threw the gun he used into the front yard of the residence when the second intruder was fleeing, according to documents.

According to a probable cause statement, another person told investigators the name of an individual who was with Taylor during the home invasion. That same individual told police he heard that Avery, the girlfriend of Taylor's alleged accomplice, set up a drug deal at the residence where the invasion occurred, police say.

The individual also told police he heard that Avery drove her boyfriend away from the scene in a black GMC Yukon, and later abandoned the vehicle in the parking lot of 700 N. Garth Ave., according to the statement.

Police also spoke with Taylor's guardian, who corroborated the story, the document states. Taylor's guardian also reportedly told police that Avery set up the drug deal knowing Taylor and his alleged accomplice were planning to steal drugs in the robbery instead.

The guardian allegedly told police that Avery was waiting in the vehicle during the robbery and that Taylor held people inside the home at gunpoint while his accomplice stole money and drugs.

A third person also told police Taylor and his accomplice went to the home to purchase drugs in a deal Avery had arranged, according to the statement.

The second male involved in the invasion told Taylor's guardian and another individual that Taylor was shot and killed during the robbery and he fled the scene, police say.

Video surveillance showed Avery driving the GMC into the parking lot at 700 N. Garth Ave., and the second male exiting the passenger seat of the vehicle, police say.

Police said Avery and her boyfriend were later picked up from the same parking lot by an unknown person in a black Cadillac SUV.

It wasn't clear Friday whether Avery was in police custody. Bond was set at $500,000 cash-only.

Boone / Columbia / Drugs / Email Alert – Breaking News / Homicide / News / Shooting / Top Stories

Sydney Olsen

Sydney Olsen reports in the evenings during the week and on the weekend.


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