16-year-old charged with murder in family members’ deaths

Suspect will be tried as an adult

Madison Wine, 16, enters the courtroom where she was arraigned by Wood County Circuit Judge J.D. Beane Thursday on charges of murder, arson, attempted murder and cruelty to animals. She pleaded not guilty. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG –A 16-year-old girl has been indicted in the murders of two family members who died in a fire in May.

An indictment charging Madison Wine with first-degree arson and murder in the deaths of Robert Taylor, 58, and his wife, Charolette, 52, was unsealed Thursday in Wood County Circuit Court. Wine’s charges were not initially announced last week with the rest of the indictments by the Wood County Grand Jury because of her age. However, circuit Judge Jason Wharton recently ruled that she would be tried as an adult, prosecutors said.

The Taylors died after a late-night fire on May 5 at their 72 Spruce St. home in Davisville. Investigators said at the time a juvenile was taken into custody and charges were pending but declined to release any additional information.

A 6-year-old resident of the house suffered smoke inhalation and was not breathing when firefighters brought her outside. Wood County deputy sheriffs and emergency medical personnel revived her.

On Thursday, Wood County Prosecutor Pat Lefebure said Wine was a resident of the house where the fire took place, although he declined to specify her relationship with the Taylors. A civil suit filed over issues related to ownership of the house and heirs since Robert Taylor died without a will says Wine had been adopted by the Taylors.

Madison Wine, 16, right, stands in the courtroom beside attorney Joseph McFarland, left, as Wood County Circuit Judge J.D. Beane questions her Thursday before she enters pleas of not guilty to a seven-count indictment that includes charges of murder. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

No evidence shows anyone else was involved with the fire, Lefebure said.

“We brought the charges against the individual that we felt (was) responsible,” he said.

The indictment charges Wine with two counts each of murder and felony murder. The latter charges indicate the victims’ death were the result of the arson, even if the fire was not set with the intent to kill them.

“She could only be sentenced on one for each victim,” Lefebure said.

Each of the murder charges carries a potential sentence of life in prison.

In addition to arson, the indictment charges Wine with first-degree arson, attempted murder in relation to the 6-year-old resident and cruelty to animals, due to the dogs that died in the fire.

If convicted, the sentence for arson is two to 20 years, with a potential three to 15 years for attempted murder and one to five for cruelty to animals.

Wine, in custody at the North Central Regional Jail, entered a plea before Judge J.D. Beane Thursday. She was dressed in an orange prisoner’s jumpsuit with her hands cuffed at her waist and her ankles shackled, just like adult defendants in custody at the North Central Regional Jail, who were arraigned before her. She only spoke to answer, “Yes sir” to questions from Beane and plead “not guilty” to each of the seven charges.

Lefebure declined to say where Wine is being held.

Wine’s trial is scheduled for Jan. 8.

She is represented by the Wood County Public Defender Corporation. Attorney Joseph McFarland could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon following the hearing.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.