ROANOKE, Va. -- She's an admitted killer and she's speaking only to WDBJ7 about the murder.
Amanda Taylor was cheerful, coherent and pleasant each time she called. But her story is shocking and difficult to comprehend. She was vengeful over her husband Rex's suicide and blamed his father Charles for it because they both abused prescription drugs. When she went to his home in Ellett and stabbed him multiple times, she says she felt relief.
Taylor has been in jail since she was arrested for stabbing her father-in-law to death. Afterward, she posted on social media that she was glad she did it. But in a wide-ranging interview with WDBJ7 Anchor Chris Hurst, she revealed more about the crime she is accused of and why she did it.
The day before Easter, she says she stabbed Charles several times in his Montgomery County home and that she's been happier ever since. Then she and another man, Sean Ball, took off to North Carolina where she says she shot him in the throat on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Both the commonwealth's attorney in Montgomery County and her lawyer didn't want her to talk to Hurst and wouldn't allow an on-camera interview, but Taylor called him from her cell for the past week.
“Like I always thought about it,” she said over the phone. “But I never had like a plan to go through it until a few days before we did it. That's when we actually made like a plan of what we we're going to do.”
The plan, she told WDBJ7, was to go to Charles' home the night before Easter. Even though other family members have told WDBJ7 that Charles was a good, honest man, Amanda said he had to die.
“I just wanted him to know, like, it was me and I wanted to watch him die. So, you know, I stabbed him to death.”
Before he killed himself, Rex and Amanda had a fascination, an obsession, with murder. She says they bonded over an admiration of serial killers and mass murder. But she says when she took out the knife as Charles lay on the couch, it wasn't what she expected.
“So when I first stabbed him, I couldn't tell if I really did that, you know, because, ‘Where's the blood?"’ she recalls. “I'm used to, like, watching all these movies and, people die instantly when they get stabbed. No!”
After, she made several posts on Facebook and Instagram, boasting about the killing. She says she wasn't seeking fame, despite an interest in infamous criminals. She says this murder was personal.
“I guess I was proud of what I had done and like I got online and saw a couple different news postings and me and Sean, like we were wanted,” she said. "They were looking for us and I don't know I just felt the need...I was excited that I had finally [done] it.”
“What would you say to someone who just looks at you and thinks that you're evil?” Hurst asked.
“I'm not evil,” she replied. “I didn't go and like go and kill random people...you know I killed somebody who deserved it.”
And yet she says she almost did kill again. It was on the Blue Ridge Parkway where she for a time had a plan to carry out a crime spree. She recruited Ball, her friend, to get the knife and a gun, but when he saw Charles dying, she says he quickly got cold feet.
“I know it sounds really bad but I just felt so much better,” she said. “I was pumped up and excited and I looked at Sean and I wanted to, like, jump up and, like, hug him but he didn't have the same reaction to it.”
Still she says they got into a Jeep and started driving. She says before he killed himself, her husband Rex and she had talked about going on a crime and killing spree. She wanted to do it with Ball and confessed to me she thought about killing two women somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“We were close. There was so many times where, like, I was going to. We pulled off at this one area, it's like one of those scenery areas, and it’s kind of like a rest stop. It's a place for you to look over and stuff. And there were these two girls there and I told Sean, I talked to them before and they told me that they were just traveling for spring break, that they didn't really know where they were going either. They were just going around in Tennessee and Virginia.
"So I went back to the Jeep and I told Sean, I'm like, ‘They're perfect to, you know, kill and, like, rob, like they were traveling, obviously they had money… There was no one else around us.’
"But Sean couldn't do it. He was like, ‘I can't disappoint my mom any more.’"
Her frustration with his conscience grew for a few days after the murder until she says she eventually used the revolver he got for her and shot him.
“He ruined my plans, he ruined so much for me,” she said.
“Did you consider what you were doing morally wrong?” Hurst asked.
“I know it's wrong,” she answered. “I know it's not right to go around killing people. But you know that was something I chose to do to feel better for myself so I can't feel bad about it. I feel bad about how it affected my family, but I don't look at it as wrong, no."
Ball survived the shooting and after spending about a week in the hospital, he was brought to jail on second-degree murder charges just like Taylor. Because Taylor says she shot Ball on the Blue Ridge Parkway, that attempted murder is now a federal charge in North Carolina.
Her attorney, Ryan Hamrick, sent a letter to us Thursday afternoon asking us not to air the interview while a psychiatric evaluation is still pending, but we decided it was still important to share.
She says the psychiatrist in the jail has visited her a couple of times, but has not made any diagnosis or put her on any medication.
While WDBJ7 can't confirm Taylor's mental health history, she said repeatedly that she's never been diagnosed with any illness and only was prescribed medication after a stay at St. Alban's mental health facility in Radford. That followed a breakdown at Rex Taylor's grave on his birthday in late March.
She and some friends went there and that’s when she and a friend, Mariah Roebuck, said she had a breakdown. When she got home, her mother called police, Taylor said. She said she stayed at St. Alban’s for five days, some of which was court-ordered. But she said doctors there said she was ready to leave and prescribed her some temporary medications. She told WDBJ7 she doesn’t know if the murder could have been prevented if she stayed, but would have liked to have stayed longer to see if her anger over Rex’s death could have been addressed.