As families mourn deaths, bail denied for suspect

Patrick A. Evans spent Monday in Pinellas County Jail after his arrest this weekend on two counts of first-degree murder. Deputies accused him of killing his estranged wife, Elizabeth K. Evans, and her friend Jerry B. Taylor Jr. with .40-caliber blasts to their necks.

It is not the first time Patrick Evans has been accused of violence — or of abusing those closest to him.

Before he lost his job as an executive at Jabil Circuit months ago, he earned a six-figure salary, traveled to Asia, owned a $1.2-million St. Pete Beach home, a $300,000 twin-engine Cessna and could pick between a 1981 Corvette or a 2003 Hummer H2.

Yet his former wives accused the 41-year-old St. Pete Beach man of using that wealth to abuse them.

Elizabeth Evans, 44, was the third woman to leave him in the past two decades and the second to accuse him of abuse. In May she told a judge he changed the house locks, leaving her and her daughter "homeless."

His second wife, Andrea Evans, has accused her ex-husband of trying to "control" her, of physically and emotionally abusing her, and of leaving her and their son destitute when she left him.

"I am terrified of him," she wrote to a judge in 2004. "He does not like losing control."

But court records show that Patrick Evans himself fell on hard times recently: American Express sued him in October to recover almost $90,000.

Monday, the families of his victims faced much worse.

Jerry B. Taylor Sr. of Holiday spoke Monday of the pain his family endured when one son had to break the news to the parents of their other son's death.

"It was something we will never get over," he said. "Christmas will never be the same for us."

• • •

The two victims were parents, co-workers and acquaintances. They were together when deputies say they were shot Saturday in Elizabeth Evans' Gulfport condo.

She died instantly. Jerry Taylor Jr., 43, of Tampa,was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after.

On Monday, a day before what would have been the couple's third anniversary, Patrick Evans was denied bail on the two murder charges.

The couple's estrangement certainly played a role in the shootings, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

"They've been separated for about eight months and the separation had been rocky," said sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha.

Grief counselors were on hand Monday for the victims' co-workers at Tech Data, said director of marketing Brian Gibson.

Elizabeth Evans, the company's director of sales, had worked at Tech Data for less than a year, as had Jerry Taylor Jr., the director of transportation.

• • •

Jerry Taylor Jr. was scheduled to fly to Pittsburgh today to spend Christmas with his 7-year-old daughter, Francesca Taylor.

Instead, his ex-wife was talking to a priest and pediatrician about the best way to tell her daughter that her father was killed, said the victim's father.

The oldest of four, Jerry Taylor Jr. was a multisport standout in high school in Sterling Park, Va..

Although divorced, he flew to Pittsburgh to visit Francesca every month, sometimes twice a month, according to his parents.

"He was the best: best father, best son," said his mother, Linda Taylor.

The Weingarten family gathered Monday to mourn Elizabeth Evans. Her sister-in-law, Ginger Weingarten, gave this statement:

"For all those who knew her, they were the lucky ones. She infused life with an infectious love of life, with great passion and laughter. A wonderful mother, daughter, aunt, sister-in-law, friend. A jewel has been lost never to be forgotten."

• • •

Patrick Evans joined Jabil in 1989, according to the St. Petersburg company's Web site. He worked for Jabil in China and Malaysia and in 2002 rose to become vice president of business development in Asia Pacific.

But his personal life, court records show, did not match his professional one.

He married Jill Evans in 1989, records show. He filed for divorce in 1992. He accused her of "abandoning" their marriage, according to records.

His second marriage lasted nine years. When his wife filed for divorce in 2005, she accused him of "social" cocaine use and "drinking every night until he passes out."

But the emotional and physical abuse began before they even married, she said in 2003 when she asked for a protective order.

"He has been abusive for our whole relationship," wrote Andrea Evans to the judge, "(and) I have never been this scared."

Until she left him, Patrick Evans had always kept his rage hidden, the ex-wife wrote.

"I believe that he is capable of hurting me because he has never lost control in 12 years and let anyone see him yell, threat or swear at me," she wrote. "This weekend he did it in front of the kids, my father, the police (and) his brother …

"He is irrational and unpredictable when he loses his control of people."

In 2004, she asked for another protective order:

"Mr. Evans is threatening to 'break me' and take my son away," Andrea Evans wrote to a judge. Her family declined to comment on Monday.

Patrick Evans sought a protective order against Andrea Evans in 2005. He said she hit him while exchanging their son in Tampa that July, and records show she was arrested for misdemeanor battery.

"I pleaded for her to stop," Patrick Evans wrote.

But a judge wouldn't grant the protective injunction, and the charge was later dropped.

"This Court can understand the (wife's) frustration at what was no doubt a hostile and aggressive (husband)," wrote Pinellas Circuit Judge Peter Ramsberger.

In court filings Patrick Evans said he grossed $272,619 in 2003. Yet records also show he was making the minimum payment — from $150 to $435 — on seven credit cards. He reported monthly income of $22,294 and $18,071 in expenses.

"Domestic violence is something that, unfortunately, touches all economic classes," said Pinellas Sheriff Jim Coats. "Domestic violence doesn't discriminate."

Times researchers Caryn Baird and Shirl Kennedy, staff writer Jonathan Abel and photographer Douglas R. Clifford contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

As families mourn deaths, bail denied for suspect 12/23/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 29, 2008 11:54am]

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