Slain Pregnant Hawthorne Woman’s Boyfriend, Hitman Found Guilty in Her 2001 Death

More than 15 years after a pregnant woman was shot dead in her Hawthorne apartment, her boyfriend and the hitman he hired were both convicted in the killing on Monday, officials said.

Derek Paul Smyer — the woman’s boyfriend at the time of her death — was found guilty of one count each of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of murder for financial gain and multiple murders, second-degree murder and conspiracy and two counts of solicitation of murder, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

A separate jury found 35-year-old Skyler Jefferson Moore, the alleged hitman, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of lying in wait and multiple murders and one count of conspiracy.

Smyer, who is now 36, became upset with his girlfriend Crystal Dejuanna Taylor in August 2001 when he learned she was pregnant and declined to have an abortion, according to court testimony.

He then paid Moore to kill her, prosecutors said.

Taylor was 27 years old and between 21 and 22-weeks pregnant when she was fatally shot in her apartment on Sept. 25, 2001, according to DA’s officials.

Smyer is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on June 1. He faces a maximum of life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.

The jury has not yet decided whether it will recommend the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole for Moore. The penalty phase of his trial is set to begin May 10.