The 32-year-old son of a Huntington Beach surfing legend was sentenced Tuesday to 23 years in prison for attempting to hire hitmen, who turned out to be undercover police officers, to murder his brother’s ex-wife.
Joseph Jordan Taylor pleaded guilty a week ago to solicitation to commit murder and attempted murder in an agreement with prosecutors.
Taylor was caught up in a Huntington Beach police undercover sting and was arrested in May 2015.
Police also arrested the defendant’s father, John Reid Taylor, and his other son, Matthew Austin Taylor, at that time, but they were never charged.
“We never felt we could prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt against anybody else,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez.
The elder Taylor was part of the 2011 Surfing Walk of Fame inductees as one of the legendary Hole in the Wall Gang Surfers, a group of amateurs who earned the nickname for favoring a part of Huntington Beach where there was a large drain pipe in a retaining wall.
When Joseph Taylor was arrested, police said the FBI tipped off Huntington Beach police about the alleged conspiracy. He was taken into custody soon after he handed money over to the undercover officers.
At the sentencing hearing, his victim questioned why she was targeted.
“Why did you want to take my life, why would you want my daughter to be raised without me?” she asked. “You and your family have bankrupted me, slandered me, alienated my child from me, abused me, terrorized me, taken everything that meant anything to me and you actually paid someone to take my life … All I want is to raise my children in peace without fear.”
Taylor’s attorney, Doug Myers, did not respond to a request for comment.