SANTA MONICA—A former Santa Monica trainer pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, February 2, for the decapitation of his two pre-teen children that was said to have transpired in Lancaster, California in November of 2020. He is also being tried for felony child abuse under circumstances that could likely cause great bodily harm or death involving his two other sons who were age 8 and 9 years old at the time of the murder. 

The District Attorney’s Office reported that the two children, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, were decapitated and their younger siblings were exposed to their dead bodies while they were kept in their rooms without food for about a week.  

Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr., was a trainer working in a physical therapy office in Santa Monica at the time. Authorities were contacted after his clients could not get a hold of him for their scheduled appointments in the week before the children were found. 

The victims were found located at the 45000 block of Century Circle in Lancaster. They were discovered five days after the murder occurred. 

In December of 2020 his mental competency delayed criminal proceedings but was re-opened last year.

Taylor faces the possibility of spending 57 years to life in prison. He is currently in jail with a bail amount of $4.2 million and is due back in court on February 15. Alleged special circumstances are said to have eliminated the possibility of the death penalty.

The mother of the two victims, Natalie Sumiko Brothwell, was arrested in September of 2021 in the state of Arizona where she was reported to be living at the time. She faces the same counts as Taylor. It hasn’t been determined if she will receive the same punishments if convicted.