A man convicted of trying to shoot Aliceville's Assistant Police Chief in 2015 has been sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

John Robert Taylor, 65, was first arrested on April 3, 2015 at the B-Mart Convenience Store on Mobile Road in Pickens County's Aliceville. Assistant Chief of Police Tony Thrasher stopped there at 3:20 p.m. for a drink when he witnessed Taylor in a verbal altercation with the store manager. Thrasher also noted that Taylor smelled of alcohol.

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Thrasher attempted to arrest Taylor for public intoxication, at which point Taylor pulled a handgun on the officer and attempted to pull the trigger multiple times before Thrasher deployed his taser \and took Taylor him into custody.

A jury found Taylor guilty of attempted murder, public intoxication and resisting arrest last October. Prosecutor District Attorney Andrew Hamlin pushed for a sentence of life without parole because of Taylor's extensive criminal history.

"Based on the violent nature of the offense and Taylor’s prior criminal history, I asked the court to sentence him to life without the possibility of parole,” Hamlin said. “This is the only way that I am certain that the public is protected.”

Taylor had previously been convicted on three prior adult felonies and was therefore subject to a heightened sentencing range under Alabama's Habitual Felony Offender Act. A bill is currently before the Alabama Legislature that would see this act repealed, leading to lighter sentences for repeat offenders.

“Had we been prohibited from using these prior convictions for sentencing enhancement in this case, Taylor would, at some point, be out of prison and putting the public at risk again," Hamlin said. "I hope that those in the Alabama Legislature attempting to do away with the habitual felony offender act will consider this case, and think better of it. To do otherwise will put Alabamians in harm’s way.”

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