Driggers denied youthful offender status, trial set

Published 1:05 pm Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Brantley teenager charged with a New Year’s Day, 2014, murder was denied Youthful Offender status, which if convicted, would have meant sealed records and a lighter sentence.

Taylor Driggers was indicted by a grand jury with two counts of murder for the death of Luverne native Kristin Fuller last August. He returned to court with a petition for Youthful Offender Status before Christmas.

Alabama’s Youthful Offender status was formed to keep people who are under 21 years of age from “the harshness of criminal prosecution and conviction. It was designed to provide them with the benefits of an informal, confidential, rehabilitative system,” according to the Code of Alabama.

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The maximum sentence a youthful offender can receive is three years.

Driggers will face his murder charges this Spring.

“One count for intentional murder and one count for reckless murder,” explained District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer. “We can try the whole case, and before it goes to the jury, we’ll decide which case was made.”

Tesmer said the case will be placed on the trial docket the week of May 11.

Driggers and Fuller were at a New Year’s party in 2014 when Fuller was killed by a single shot, fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, Tesmer said shortly after the incident. The shooting took place at a residence on County Road 29 between midnight and 4:30 a.m.

While no toxicology information has been released, “apparently there had been some drinking of alcohol earlier in the evening,” said Tesmer in January.

Driggers, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, was a part of Brantley High School’s 2012, 15-0 State Championship team and had planned to play football at Troy University the next season, where he and Fuller were students.

Fuller, 18, graduated from Crenshaw Christian Academy in 2013.

Bond was set at $100,000 in January and Driggers was placed under house arrest. After last August’s indictment, Circuit Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell issued stricter conditions.

Driggers is required to remain in Crenshaw County unless the court gives him written consent and must live with his parents or grandparents. A parent or grandparent has to accompany him when he is away from home.

The only reasons he can leave home are for a court appearance; legal or medical appointment; church service; or to go to work. If he is employed, he has to provide a written work schedule to the court. Driggers’ commute to and from work is the only one he can make without a chaperone.

He will be arrested if he is found drinking alcohol or consuming any illegal substance; in possession of a firearm; commits a criminal offense; or fails to appear or answer orders of the court.