Monday, April 15, 2024

Kellogg killer gets life without parole

| March 26, 2024 1:00 AM

WALLACE — Majorjon Kaylor will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing a family of four in Kellogg.

Judge Barbara Duggan handed down the sentence Monday. Kaylor, 32, previously pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Kenneth Guardipee, 65, Kenna Guardipee, 41, Devin Smith, 18, and Aiken Smith, 16. Kaylor killed the family after a dispute at their shared duplex in Kellogg.

Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Allen recommended a fixed 50-year sentence, while defense counsel requested a sentence that included the possibility of parole.

“You took your firearm and you chose to execute them,” Duggan told Kaylor. “You knew it was unlawful and you chose to do it. Most case law deals with one victim, not four. This is beyond what we typically see, even in the criminal justice system.”

In the packed courtroom, some gasped audibly as Duggan delivered the sentence. The victims’ families wept, as did those who attended to support Kaylor.

“When the defendant believed his family had been wronged, he took justice into his own hands,” Allen said in court. “Targeting the person whom he believed was responsible and taking any other life that stood in his way. The sentence this court imposes today will send a message. This message is one of deterrence, this message is one of safety and this message should be one of trust. Trust that our courtrooms are, in fact, the appropriate place for justice to prevail.”  

Chris Schwartz, defense counsel for Kaylor, said his client had become a family man and a productive member of society after a childhood of abuse and neglect. He also presented an argument of cause and effect.

“This case did not happen in a vacuum,” Schwartz said. “We cannot gloss over what was occurring in the lead-up to this event.”

Before the killings, Devin Smith had allegedly exposed himself to Kaylor’s children. Defense counsel argued that police and prosecutors didn’t respond in a manner that reflected the severity of the allegations.

Police responded to the incident and submitted their findings to prosecutors two days before Kaylor fatally shot Devin Smith and his family.

“I have seen what prosecutors are able to do for victims of crimes and none of the protective steps that we see routinely in a criminal case were accomplished here,” Schwartz said. “These two families were on top of a powder keg of angst and emotion and they were hoping that the government would provide some method of resolution, but none was forthcoming.”

The perceived lack of response from authorities led to the killings, Schwartz argued.

Kaylor declined to speak before receiving his sentence. He has 42 days to appeal his sentence in a higher court.

Though Allen did not address the media directly after the sentencing, due to an active non-dissemination order, he spoke in court about the impact of the murders.

“What is the value of a human life, or in this instance, four human lives?” Allen said. “No sentence will ever fully embody justice as no sentence can ever bring back the lives that were taken.”