YAKIMA, Wash. — Two men involved in a deadly fight Monday were not related to each other, as police initially believed. Instead, they were former cellmates.
Gage M. Rogers, a 21-year-old parolee from Ferry County, is expected to be formally charged today with first-degree murder in the beating and stomping death of 45-year-old Eric A. Taylor.
Witnesses reported Rogers beat and stomped Taylor in the face and chest in the basement of a home in the 1100 block of Cherry Avenue in Yakima, following a drinking binge that began hours earlier. The home belongs to Taylor’s family.
Cherry Avenue is about four blocks north of Lincoln Avenue. Taylor was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
According to police, Rogers was initially described to them as Taylor’s nephew.
On Wednesday, however, Capt. Rod Light said investigators have determined the two men were not related and instead met at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, a state prison in Connell.
Light said investigators have learned that Rogers was picked up by members of Taylor’s family after his release from prison and that Taylor later rejoined him after his release.
Light said his agency investigated why Rogers was living in Yakima partly due to concerns that the city has become a dumping ground for parolees from the state prison system.
“That doesn’t appear to be the case here,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the prison, located north of Pasco, said the two men were in the same housing unit for about a month until January, when Rogers was released after serving time for an assault and animal cruelty conviction in Ferry County.
Taylor was released in March. He was serving time for a second-degree escape conviction in Chelan County.
• Chris Bristol can be reached at 509-577-7748 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ChrisJBristol.