04/02/10 — Busco Beach rapist pleads guilty

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Busco Beach rapist pleads guilty

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on April 2, 2010 1:46 PM

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Tony Burton Taylor

A Kinston man who stood accused of raping a 15-year-old girl at knife-point at a local campground and recreational riding center pleaded guilty to a reduced charge this week in Wayne County Superior Court.

Tony Burton Taylor, 45, was arrested after staff members and visitors to Busco Beach surrounded him in a swampy woodland area in July 2008.

In a deal with prosecutors, Taylor pleaded guilty to second-degree rape, reduced from first-degree rape.

He will serve between 17 1/2 and 21 3/4 years in prison.

Other charges against him were dismissed, including habitual felon status, statutory rape or sex offense where the defendant is more than or equal to six years older than the victim, indecent liberties with a child and lewd and lascivious act.

Authorities said that patrons and staff of Busco Beach played a major role in Taylor's arrest.

Around 6 p.m. on July 11, 2008, callers warned deputies that the suspect was trying to escape the park, which offers camping and recreational riding for four-wheelers and similar vehicles.

When deputies arrived and searched the swampy area, Taylor was found partially submerged in water, hiding under logs, authorities said at the time.

Lead investigator Detective Keith Hartzog made the arrest, assisted by Detective Sgts. Tammy Odom, Robert Chunn and other patrol deputies.

At the time of the arrest, Sheriff Carey Winders said Taylor did not immediately comply with authorities, and that deputies had to talk the suspect into dropping the knife.

As they interviewed him, Taylor told deputies that he had taken a number of pills, so he was first taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

Later, he was charged at the magistrate's office and jailed under a $300,000 bond.

Taylor had an extensive record of felonies, including multiple charges of breaking and entering, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and escape from a correctional facility.

At the time of his July 2008 arrest, he had an active warrant in Lenoir County for felonious breaking and entering.