Crystal Taylor, Derek Smyer: ‘Dateline’ ‘One Moment’ Details Cold Case Murder Of Pregnant Hawthorne Woman By Skyler Moore

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The Crystal Taylor and Derek Smyer murder tale will air on Dateline NBC this Friday. Crystal Taylor was shot and killed as she descended the stairs leading from her apartment in Hawthorne, California, more than 16 years ago. Derek Smyer hired hitman Skyler Moore to do the job. Crystal Taylor’s case went cold until investigators had enough to arrest Derek Smyer and Skyler Moore. Dateline NBC’s story covering the case is called “One Moment.”

 

Dateline NBC Friday episode “One Moment”

A pregnant African American woman is shot outside her apartment building in the fall of 2001. The case stumps detectives and family members until two killers: a hired assassin and a devoted and doting dad, are brought to justice more than a decade later.

 

You won’t find much about the case of Crystal Taylor from 2001. It appears the pregnant black woman’s murder didn’t make many headlines. Her case came to national attention in 2010 when Derek Paul Smyer, 36, and Skyler Moore, 35, were charged for her death and that of her unborn child, Jeremiah Johnson Taylor.

 

Crystal Taylor was a beautiful woman who was looking forward to the birth of her baby, but on the morning of September 25, 2001, someone took her life. Prosecutors say Crystal was shot outside her Kornblum Avenue apartment in Hawthorne. She was on her way to work and was walking to her vehicle. Prosecutors alleged Derek Smyer, the father of Crystal Taylor’s unborn child, was angry that she refused to get rid of the baby, the Los Angeles Times reported.

 

 

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[Second Image via Derek Smyer Youtube]

The way Crystal Taylor was killed is reminiscent of the murder of Denita Smith, a grad student who was also shot as she descended the stairs. In that case, a woman who was involved with Denita Smith’s boyfriend killed her rival out of jealousy. Dateline NBC also covered that story in a previous episode.

 

According to Daily Breeze, Crystal Taylor is not the first woman Derek Smyer tried to kill. He also tried to kill another woman who was pregnant with his two children. The first attempt on Tracy Williamson’s life occurred when she was around seven-months pregnant. Authorities say Derek Smyer tricked the pregnant woman into meeting him in an alley, where someone assaulted her with a knife.  When the same mother became pregnant for the second time, another attempt was made on her life. This time, the pregnant mother-to-be was struck in the abdomen. Tracy and her baby also survived that frightening ordeal.

 

Derek Paul Smyer was a handsome and intelligent man with piercing eyes. No one would ever know this same man had one pregnant woman killed and tried to kill another. After Derek Smyer hired hitman Skyler Moore to murder Crystal Taylor, he had a cooking show on YouTube called Derek Smyer: The Simone and Daddy Cooking Show.

 

 

Dateline NBC reports Crystal Taylor was a few months pregnant when Derek Smyer hired Skyler Moore to shoot her in the head. Her devastated sisters persisted until the killers were found. On Dateline NBC, relatives and friends will be interviewed for the story. Friends say no one knew who would have wanted to hurt Crystal Taylor. She came from a loving and close-knit family until this tragedy threatened to tear them apart, Dateline’s video stated.

 

JUSTICE in #California for the unborn "The City News Service reports a jury found Derek Paul Smyer, 36, of California,…

Posted by Life Defenders on Tuesday, May 9, 2017

To find out what piece of information led Los Angeles County detectives to uncover the killers’ true identities, tune into Dateline NBC this Friday, October 20, at 9/8 p.m. Central.

 

 

 

 

[Main Image via Dateline NBC/Facebook/Police File Photo]


Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is a true-crime buff and freelance writer. She began writing in the 1990s for the Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives and has contributed content to other websites, such as Examiner.com and Inquisitr.com. Traciy has also appeared as an expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, Lifetime's Killer Kids, and Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls.

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