Suspect in Belmont student’s death could face new charges

MNPD said it is currently working with the Nashville District Attorney’s Office to upgrade Shaquille Taylor’s charges.
Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 10:16 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – Nashville authorities are considering new charges against the man accused of shooting and now killing a Belmont University student.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said Tuesday Jillian Ludwig, who was shot in the head Tuesday afternoon near the university’s campus, had died. Her family told WSMV4 she died Wednesday night at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Shaquille Taylor is charged in connection to the shooting. He currently faces aggravated assault and evidence tampering charges. In a post on X, MNPD said it is currently working with Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk to upgrade those charges now that Ludwig has died.

“We are in discussion with the District Attorney’s Office concerning modified charges against Shaquille Taylor,” MNPD wrote.

Taylor is no stranger to criminal activities, authorities said. But a legal loophole has kept him out of custody, WSMV4 Investigates found. In fact, just 12 days before Ludwig was shot, District Attorney Glenn Funk predicted a crime such as this could occur.

Funk spoke with WSMV4 Investigates for its investigation that showed hundreds of criminals in Nashville who cannot be prosecuted because they are deemed incompetent to stand trial. Because district attorneys are forbidden by the Supreme Court to prosecute those who are determined not to be fit to understand the trial process or the crimes they’ve committed, their charges are dismissed and they are released back out onto the streets, often reoffending.

“It’s unbelievably frustrating because we know there’s going to be another victim in the next few weeks,” Funk told WSMV4 Investigates.

Taylor is now alleged to be one of those reoffenders. In April, the Nashville District Attorney’s Office prosecuted Taylor on an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge. At a competency hearing, three doctors unanimously testified that Taylor was incompetent to stand trial, Funk said.

“State and Federal law prohibit prosecution of persons found to be incompetent, so therefore Judge Angelita Dalton was mandated to dismiss the case,” Funk said in a statement. “Because the doctors did not find Mr. Taylor met the standards for involuntary commitment, he was released from custody on May 19, 2023.”

Taylor’s criminal history dates back to 2010, according to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation background check obtained by WSMV4. The first charges back in 2010 include aggravated robbery and possession of a handgun; similar charges through Taylor’s record throughout the years up to this shooting include assault, robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, vehicle theft and more.

Taylor was scheduled to have a court date Thursday morning. It’s unclear at this time whether he will face murder charges in Ludwig’s death.

Ludwig was a freshman at Belmont University. Her family told WSMV4 she was a music business major and was an accomplished musician and vocalist.

Her aunt Geri Wainwright said Ludwig’s family is dumbfounded as to why Taylor was allowed to be on the streets.

“(Jillian’s) fearlessness, spontaneity, love of laughter, kindness and compassion make her irreplaceable to our family. Losing her would forever change the fabric of our lives,” Wainwright said. “So, we have to ask, why was this man free? What kind of world do we live in where it’s not safe to take a walk near your college dorm in broad daylight? How could someone so carelessly dim the light of a star destined to shine so bright?”