PITTSBURG — Two men were sentenced to prison Monday for the 2014 murder of Taylor Thomas — one for life.
Darius Rainey was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. Earlier this year, Rainey pleaded no contest to first degree murder and was subsequently found guilty by Judge Kurtis Loy.
Rainey will also have lifetime parole if ever released, and was ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution to Thomas’ family.
Corbin Spragg was also sentenced Monday for his part in the crime. Spragg pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of second degree murder and one count of aggravated kidnapping.
Spragg was sentenced to 165 months for each charge — to be served consecutively — for a total of 330 months in prison. Each count also carried 36 months of post release supervision.
Spragg will be required to register for life as a violent offender, as well as pay $20,000 in restitution to Taylor Thomas’ family.
Rainey and Spragg, along with Brian Bridges, took part in a 2014 home invasion which left Taylor Thomas dead.
Taylor Thomas’ father, Tom Thomas Jr., spoke to both Rainey and Spragg about his son and called for a stop to burglaries and home invasions.
“When you murder a child of God, remember that you are a child of God, too,” Tom Thomas said. “My hope is one day for all of you to walk in heaven with Taylor so you can apologize to him.”
Tom Thomas said he forgave the men and hoped they could find their way through Christianity.
“My wife and I pray for you guys,” he said. “We’re all sinners, we all make mistakes and we all have a chance.”
Rainey reportedly issued an apology to the family. Spragg made no comment during the allocution portion of sentencing.
Spragg testified earlier this year that his cousin, Tyler Smith, had originally come to Spragg looking for someone to rob because Smith was broke and needed money.
Spragg said that he suggested Joseph Otter, whom he knew as a fellow marijuana dealer, to Smith and they then contacted Rainey to enlist him in the plan.
He said he, Smith and Rainey drove around town smoking marijuana until Rainey had to go to work at McDonalds. Spragg then testified that he and Smith continued to drive around Pittsburg, smoking pot and Spragg made some pot sales.
Late the evening of Oct. 8, Spragg said Smith decided he was tired and did not want to participate in the robbery and so Spragg enlisted Bridges to take his place.
After allegedly picking up Rainey and Bridges and retrieving a pair of firearms — a shotgun and a .40 caliber handgun — from Juan Salas-Rueda, and donning a trio of masks purchased earlier at Wal-Mart, they used what Spragg described as a “battering ram” to break down the back door of Otter’s house.
Salas-Rueda was recently sentenced to 61 months in prison on charges of aggravated robbery and faces deportation to Mexico on his release.
Otter testified that he and his girlfriend were awake and preparing to watch a movie when they heard the back door broken in. Having been robbed before, Otter said he opened the front door and he and his girlfriend fled across the street.
The robbery ended with the death of Thomas after he was shot by Bridges. Bridges was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year.
Otter was sentenced to 60 months in prison in October of last year, for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
Smith is the last person to be sentenced. His sentencing is scheduled for July 12.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance