Murder suspect appears in court for probable cause hearing

Terrance Taylor (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Office)
Terrance Taylor (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Office)
(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)
Laranda Ruiz, right (Source: KAIT-TV)
Laranda Ruiz, right (Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Court documents reveal a murder victim and the alleged suspect were involved in an "abusive relationship for several months."

On Monday, Craighead County District Judge Tommy Fowler found probable cause to charge 39-year-old Terrance Taylor with first-degree murder in the death of 37-year-old Shonda Gonzalez and set his bond at $250,000.

Gonzalez was found dead at approximately 7:50 p.m. Saturday, March 17,  in her home on Gilbert Street.

According to a news release from the Jonesboro Police Department, there were no signs of forced entry.

Initially, investigators were told Gonzalez had a medical condition that could have explained her death.

However, because of her age and physical condition, her body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock for an autopsy.

A preliminary autopsy report released Tuesday ruled the death as a homicide, the release stated.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the two attended a small gathering on Friday, March 16. They left around 1 a.m. Saturday with Taylor's mother.

While she was driving them back to Gonzalez's home on Gilbert, according to the affidavit, Taylor "became mad and started cursing" Gonzalez.

Taylor's mother told investigators she stopped the car and he got out, then he kicked the car.

Gonzalez reportedly also got out of the car and walked off with Taylor.

"This is the last time they were seen together," the affidavit stated.

Around 8 p.m. Saturday, Taylor reportedly called another witness and told her to go check on Gonzalez because "she had a heart attack."

Gonzalez's cousin told investigators he asked Taylor where she was early Sunday morning. He claimed Taylor "cursed at him and hung up the phone."

Gonzalez's sister, Laranda Ruiz, said she knew from the beginning.

"When I got that message that my sister had passed, I knew in my heart," Ruiz said. "It was him."

Ruiz said it's shocking to know her sister is gone, and now all the family wants is justice for Shonda.

"It would mean everything," Ruiz said.

Lt. Steve McDaniel with JPD said they rely on the community for help in solving cases like this.

"Without the community, it's very hard to break some cases," McDaniel said. "We rely on every bit of information that we get from anyone, even a small amount of information or just a little tidbit might be that information that breaks the case for us."

In addition to suspicion of first-degree murder, a judge also found probable cause to charge Taylor with possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Taylor is scheduled to be arraigned in circuit court on April 27. Region 8 News will continue to track this story. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute updates.

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