UPDATE: Mark Taylor Pleads Not Guilty In Lexington Murder

Reported by: Mark Stitz
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Updated: 2/12 7:51 pm
For the first time since being brought back to Kentucky from Texas, Mark Taylor appeared in court.

Wednesday afternoon, Taylor's attorney pleaded not guilty on his behalf to all charges he faces in connection to the murder of Alex Johnson.

Newly released court documents give more details of what happened on the day of Johnson's murder.

Johnson was at his Lexington apartment on the phone with his girlfriend around 8:40 p.m. on December 20, court documents show. While they were on the phone, she overheard a voice in the background that said, "Come downstairs, I have a surprise for you." Johnson's girlfriend told police that she immediately recognized the voice in the background as Taylor's.

According to the arrest warrant, Johnson told his girlfriend, "Mark is here, I'll call you later." That is the last time Johnson was heard from.

During the course of the investigation, police detectives were able to uncover that Timothy Ballard was with Taylor that night.

Taylor and Ballard were interviewed by police during the investigation, the arrest warrant said. They told police they were at Trust Lounge, a bar in downtown Lexington, the night of Johnson's disappearance.

Detectives reviewed video from the bar, which showed that Ballard and Taylor did not arrive at the bar until 11:40 that night.

Court documents show that Ballard was interviewed by police detectives on January 20. During the course of the interview, Ballard admitted to assisting Taylor in kidnapping Johnson.

He told detectives that they lured Johnson into a car, attacked him and then restrained him inside of the car.

Ballard told police he then watched as Taylor beat Johnson with an object, eventually killing him. Ballard then disposed of Johnson’s body in the Kentucky River while Taylor cleaned the car, according to the arrest warrant.

Johnson’s body was found in the Kentucky River by Lexington Fire Department divers on January 24.

According to the Fayette County Coroner, the body was found in a barrel about four feet underwater and about 10 to 15 feet off the shore near Riptides Bar.

An arrest warrant was issued by the Lexington Police Department for Taylor on January 21.

He was located in Pharr, Texas, just a few miles from the Mexican border.

Officials at the Texas jail where he was detained confirmed to ABC 36 that Taylor was transferred into custody of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department on Monday morning.

Taylor was booked into the Fayette County Detention Center just before 7 p.m. Monday.

According to the arrest warrant, Taylor and Johnson were friends, but the specifics of their relationship are still unclear.

Ballard was arrested on January 21 for charges of kidnapping and tampering with evidence. His case was transferred to the grand jury.

Taylor was charged with Murder, Kidnapping, and Tampering with Physical Evidence.
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