A Missouri teacher is accused of molesting a 7-year-old boy, then hiring a hitman to kill the child and his family as he was awaiting trial in the case. Deonte Taylor, who is 36 and HIV positive, allegedly took the boy out of class while he was working as a teacher's aide at an elementary school in 2015, KSDK reports. He wasn't arrested until November 2018, when his DNA allegedly matched samples taken from his former student. (In the intervening three years, he had gotten other teaching jobs since nothing showed up on his background check; he was a fifth-grade teacher at another school when he was arrested.) Months later, while jailed and awaiting trial, police say Taylor—in an attempt to keep the family from testifying against him—hired the hitman with the help of his boyfriend Michael Johnson, 66.
The hit was not carried out, however, and the now-10-year-old alleged victim and his family have a crowdfunding campaign here; it states the family has "struggled financially and emotionally since the original incident in 2015." Taylor is charged with felony sodomy, and both he and Johnson are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and witness tampering; they pleaded not guilty last week. After his arrest, Taylor was still being paid by the Ferguson-Florissant School District until late February, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. A spokesperson explains to KSDK: "Everybody receives due process, and he had an opportunity to have due process when those initial charges were filed. When the subsequent charges were filed, it became clear that he was not going to be returning and at that time, he was terminated." (Student set on fire after reporting sexual assault.)