Defense: Hit-and-run victims partially to blame

- A 3-year-old survived a hit-and-run crash in January, but the crash took his mother's life. 

The trial for the man prosecutors say was behind the wheel and fled the scene has begun and a jury will now decide his fate.

Hillsborough Assistant State Prosecutor Barbara Coleman told the jury, "there is no doubt from the dynamics of this crash that someone was injured or killed in that other car. You have a legal obligation to stay at the scene."

Coleman says defendant Rico Taylor did the opposite and took off.

"Law enforcement arrived at the scene. There was no Rico Taylor to be found," explained Coleman.

In January, prosecutors say Tyronda Sampson and her friend were killed in an early morning crash. Tyronda's toddler was strapped into a child's car seat and survived.

Prosecutors say Taylor sped through a red light and smashed into their car. After fleeing, an officer says he spotted Taylor staggering, wearing only one shoe, and apparently wounded.

Tampa Police crime scene investigator Charlie Thompson took pictures of Taylor shortly after.

"There was a lump on his forehead and a scratch on the right ankle, a couple of scratches," said Thompson.

Witness Terrance John told the jury he saw the crash that morning. He says the defendant's car ran a red light but during cross examination, the defense pointed out he said the opposite when he talked to police.

Back then, he said the victim's car ran the red light.

"I know I wrote it but probably a little tired, probably mixing up the colors, but I know what happened," said John.

The defense's team continued to place blame on the victim. They argued both victims were not wearing their seatbelts, suggesting that could have contributed to their deaths.

Prosecutors immediately cried foul and the judge agreed that evidence was irrelevant and would be excluded from the trial. But despite that ruling, the defense tried their best to plant the seeds of doubt early on.

If Taylor is convicted, he faces life in prison.

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