CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC - A new attorney has been appointed in the case of a man once named in the disappearance of Brittannee Drexel.
Timothy Taylor is accused of an armed robbery of a Mt. Pleasant fast food restaurant in 2011. He will now be represented by Christopher Adams, meaning Mark Peper and David Aylor are officially off the case according to court documents.
A grand jury indicted Taylor back in 2016 and Taylor pled guilty to the charges in July 2017.
Taylor was to have been sentenced for that guilty plea in January, but the hearing was canceled at the last minute over what Peper described as "a matter of law."
The sentencing still has not occurred.
Taylor's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the federal indictment on the grounds "his rights under the double jeopardy, due process, and cruel and unusual punishment clauses of the United States Constitution have been violated by the subsequent indictment and prosecution of him in federal court for the same offense and on the same underlying facts as his previous state court conviction."
They say Taylor served five years -- one in prison and four on probation -- from a guilty plea on state charges for the same crime, and therefore should not face the double jeopardy of federal charges.
Federal prosecutors countered, saying they learned about the robbery while investigating the Drexel case and said Taylor's sentencing on state charges was "far below what his co-defendants received, particularly given his level of involvement, which justified a subsequent federal prosecution."
In the summer of 2016, an FBI agent testified in open court that Drexel was abducted, gang-raped at a "stash house" in the McClellanville area, shot after trying to escape, and then her body was fed to alligators.
A jailhouse informant accused Taylor and his father, Shaun Taylor, of being directly involved in Drexel's murder, according to the agent's testimony.
Taylor has denied killing Drexel. At present, no one has been charged in her disappearance, but Taylor failed a lie detector test about it back in March, according to prosecutors.
The National Action Network and NAACP have been organizing and have held multiple rallies and events in support of the case being dropped.
Drexel's body has not been recovered, but FBI agents said in 2016 they believe she is dead.