Local man pleads not guilty to first-degree murder
IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls man accused of slitting his roommate’s throat pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder Tuesday.
Douglass Taylor, 32, entered the plea before District Judge Bruce Pickett during an arraignment. Investigators say Taylor killed his 51-year-old roommate, Hermann Hans Woerrlein after he thought the man was starting a Nazi cult.
While a jury trial is not yet on the docket, a status conference is scheduled for April 27 and a pre-trial conference is set for June.
Taylor appeared in court last month for a preliminary hearing and Magistrate Judge Kent Gauchay determined there is enough probable cause to advance the case to the higher court.
Woerrlein — a man originally from Germany — lived in a sober home for those with mental illnesses on the corner of Higbee Avenue and 17th Street with Taylor. Another roommate said he witnessed Taylor stab Woerrlein in the kitchen. After running from the house, the Idaho Falls Police Department found and took Taylor into custody.
During an interview with police, Taylor allegedly said Woerrlein was trying to start a new cult with Nazi German mythology and that he was a “young retard Hitler.” Talks of religion and secret societies were not uncommon inside the home. The roommate said during the preliminary hearing that Taylor, Woerrrlien and others would have in-depth discussions. Among the topics were the Illuminati, the occult and religions.
The roommate said that there had not been any fights between Taylor and Woerrlien before the stabbing.
If convicted of first-degree murder, a judge could order Taylor to spend up to life in prison. The Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office said in court documents that it is not seeking the death penalty, citing Taylor’s mental illnesses as a mitigating factor.