Army Doctor Col. Dennis Taylor Attempted to Kill Wife Carol in an Effort to Escape Domestic Abuse and Threats to Commander After Asking for Divorce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Army Col. Dennis Taylor was court martialed at Fort Carson, Colorado and found guilty by a jury of ten off his peers for the attempted murder of his wife Carol. (Photo credit: Investigation Discovery)

Lt Joe Kenda of Homicide Hunter featured another case where he was tasked with investigating what hospital officials suspected was an attempted murder. Upon arrival at the hospital, he was bombarded by the press because they heard the call for service over the scanner. The hospital was secure and police officers were on the scene. Upon an initial briefing, Lt Kenda discovered that a nurse suspected that someone had tampered with one of their patient’s IVs. Lt Kenda then interviewed Carol Taylor, the wife of an Army officer also present at the hospital with their two children.

Lt Kenda learned that Carol had broken her leg and had developed some blood clots. She was simply visiting with her husband and children when all of a sudden the alarm on the IV infusion machine went off. And somehow the IV had been pulled from her arm. Lt Kenda immediately began to suspect that someone was trying to kill her because it looked like someone had either tampered with or inserted something into the IV line. Because the crime lab was not proficient in the hospital’s medical equipment, they called in a hospital employee who was considered an expert. This person determined that someone had injected something into the line. The only other people in the room were her husband and children.

Lt Kenda started his next line of questioning with the husband. He learned that Lt Col Dennis Taylor served in the US Army for 27 years and was currently working as the Chief of Oral Surgery at the Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado. Lt Kenda observed that the doctor was unusually calm and appeared to be minimizing the event and brushing it off as a mistake. So then Lt Kenda went back to the wife and asked her if she thought that maybe her husband did this. The wife claimed she was fine and that everyone was making a big deal out of it and she just wanted it to go away. She claimed that they had a great marriage and life. Lt Joe Kenda had a hard time believing that her marriage was as perfect as she made it out to be and moved forward with the investigation because there was in fact liquid in the IV pump that was not supposed to be there.

Kenda reached out to a family friend who worked alongside the doctor over the years. He learned from Stan that the doctor had confided in him that Carol was verbally abusive, demeaning him, telling him he is pathetic, and even punched him. She also was upset about his drinking and knew that he had been having extra-marital affairs. Stan told Kenda that the doctor wanted to leave Carol but she had threatened to go to his commander and report him for the drinking and adultery (both considered UCMJ infractions and punishable under military law) if he left her. Carol enjoyed the privileges of being a military wife too much to lose them to divorce. He felt trapped in his current abusive marriage and was drinking more and having affairs as a way to cope with his current situation. In the civilian world, Carol would not be able to get away with threatening her husband because it is not illegal to drink and have affairs.

As it turns out, the results of the pump came back and they found Diazinon, which is a poison used to kill ants, spiders, cockroaches, etc. She would have been dead in a matter of minutes and would have been in excruciating pain, as the poison would have burned her from the inside out. As a result, Kenda arrested the doctor for attempted murder. During the arrest he found a plunged hypodermic in his pocket. The doctor told him he didn’t need an attorney and admitted his guilt. He told Kenda that earlier that morning while he was out shopping, the idea came to him that this was the only way out. Because he is a doctor, he knew how to do it. He inserted the poison and the alarm went off so he pulled the IV out of her arm for fear of arrest.

Instead of the civilians pressing forward with a case, the Army decided that they were going to court martial the doctor. They claimed they wanted to make an example of the disgraced colonel in front of a jury of his peers. He was sentenced to 18 months hard labor and he and his family were stripped of all Army privileges. And this may be why Carol Taylor protected her husband despite the fact that he just tried to kill her. Why would the Army doctor rather kill his wife then report the domestic violence to the commander? Why would the doctor feel that going to the commander was not an option and his only way out of this abusive situation was to murder his wife? Why was the doctor so intimidated by the threat of his wife reporting what would be considered minor infractions, even under UCMJ standards?

We need to evaluate why the doctor felt that he was not able to report the abuse and threatening to the Commander. Would he automatically be in trouble with military leadership if he admitted that he had been drinking and having affairs? Was he concerned about losing his career, his retirement, or facing disciplinary action? Why did he feel that he had to choose murder over reporting the threats and abuse to his commander? These are all things that we must ponder. We are seeing a pattern over and over. Our military men do not feel that reporting to the commander is an option when they are the victim of a crime. If that is the case, how can we help our military men, who find themselves the victim of threats, domestic violence, or sexual assault, report to a safe place? Right now, some would rather resort to murder then report the crimes to their commander. There must be a better way.


When the lifeless body of Willie McCarty is found at the base of a staircase, neighbors direct Kenda to a mysterious truck spotted fleeing the scene. Then… Kenda must solve a bizarre case of poisoning at a busy downtown hospital. -Investigation Discovery

Air Force Captain Ronald Ball Shot & Killed Michael Faast, Exercised Right to Remain Silent, Plead Temporary Insanity, Found Guilty But Insane (1979)

USAF Seal

On February 16, 1979, police found Michael Faast shot and killed in his vehicle in a parking lot at an apartment complex in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They also found a traumatized Lori Firth in the vehicle who was transported to the hospital for treatment. After an investigation, Lt. Joe Kenda learned from Lori Firth that Air Force Captain Ronnie Ball was the shooter. Captain Ball was an up and coming military officer stationed at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at Peterson Air Force Base. Lt. Kenda learned from Lori that she started dating Ronnie about three years prior and followed him out to Colorado. After realizing that Ronnie was married to his career in an attempt to make rank and not really interested in marrying her and creating a life, Lori dumped him. Apparently this is what triggered Captain Ball’s downward spiral. Ronnie was devastated by the break-up. This was the first time he had ever been rejected and he didn’t like it. Ronnie tried to propose marriage to Lori over the phone and left her a couple letters saying that his life was not worth living without her. Ronnie just didn’t get it; Lori was done with him.

On February 16, Ronnie showed up to Lori’s apartment. Lori described his behavior as erratic and he smelled of alcohol. His behavior was scaring her. Ronnie accused her of sleeping with her friend Michael and Lori told him to get out. Shortly after that encounter Michael Faast showed up to Lori’s place to pick her up. They jumped in the vehicle and were confronted by Ronnie Ball on the driver’s side of the vehicle with a gun in the apartment complex parking lot. Michael rolled down his window in an attempt to make peace. Ronnie asked Lori to get out of the vehicle, she refused. Ronnie told Michael to leave Lori, he refused. Lori asked Michael to get out of there and that’s when Ronnie Ball shot Michael Faast from about a foot away in the head. Faast died instantly. Michael’s vehicle then crashed into the side of the apartment building and rolled back into the parking lot with Lori in it. Ronnie Ball took off. Ronnie Ball was arrested after police secured a formal statement from Lori Firth.

The Colorado Spring Police Department never found the murder weapon therefore they needed a confession from Captain Ball to make the first degree murder charges stick. Right from the get go, Ronnie Ball exercised his right to remain silent and asked for an attorney. While he was waiting for his attorney, Lt. Kenda observed unusual behavior, extremely bizarre behavior; Ball was talking to himself and going on and on. Captain Ronnie Ball never admitted to committing the crime and despite exercising his right to remain silent was discharged from the US Air Force before he was even left the police station where he was being questioned and fingerprinted. Captain Ball then hired one of the best defense attorneys money could buy. He was found guilty but insane for the murder of Michael Faast by the civilian justice system. Ronald Ball was sent to a treatment program and given no prison time. He has since been released.

Captain Ronnie Ball’s case is an excellent example of the value of exercising the right to remain silent in an attempt to help protect a defense. Lt. Joe Kenda and the court systems definitely protected Ball’s due process rights. But the Air Force on the other hand ended his career before they even knew the facts of the case. They learned that he had been charged with first degree murder and made a decision to end his career without providing him with any due process rights as a military officer or a government employee. At the time of the charge, they had the testimony of an ex-girlfriend and that is it. In a fair, just, and ethical world, the Air Force should have waited until he was found guilty before they discharged him from the service. According to military leadership at NORAD, Captain Ronnie Ball was admired and his work was admired. He was bright and intelligent. It wasn’t until after Ronnie was rejected for the first time in his life that he began to downward spiral. The obsessive, erratic, and paranoid behavior is indicative of a personality disorder triggered by rejection which may be why Captain Ball was deemed insane. This is what justice looks like in the civilian courts; the injustice lies in the hasty actions of the US Air Force.

Related Links:
Revisiting murder cases ‘therapeutic’ for ex cop
Homicide Hunter: Death Grip – Season 4, Show 4, 2014
The Fastest Discharge in Military History
Homicide Hunter: Death Grip (Investigation Discovery YouTube)

Officers find the lifeless body of furniture salesman behind the wheel. But Faast didn’t die in the wreck – he was shot point-blank in the temple. Lt. Joe Kenda must track a killer whose promising career took a dark and deadly turn. -Investigation Discovery