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Fawn Twp. murder victim so much more than 'collateral damage'

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

Murder victim Danielle Taylor's mother isn't one to show emotion, she said, but she was overwhelmed with relief when a jury of six women and six men sentenced her daughter's killer to death on Thursday, May 24.

"She was my baby and my only girl," the grieving mother said.

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday has described Taylor, 26, of Spring Grove, as collateral damage in Paul Jackson Henry III's mission to take out his wife's heroin dealer and former lover, Foday Cheeks.

Danielle Taylor

But Taylor was much more than that, said her mother, Deborah Taylor, also of Spring Grove.

Danielle was an outgoing person who was much loved by her family, friends and acquaintances.

The Taylor family lived in Spring Grove until moving to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, when Danielle was in first grade. They moved back to Spring Grove when she was an adult.

Happy childhood: Danielle was a cheerleader at West Brunswick High School in Shallotte, North Carolina, a talented dancer and a great singer, according to her mother.

"She had a voice on her," Deborah Taylor said, adding her daughter also loved going to the beach and surfing.

An "all-around animal lover," Danielle would swoop in to rescue hurt and stray animals, both wild and domesticated, according to her mother.

She was 5 or 6 years old when she rescued and temporarily adopted a gosling that hatched after its mother had abandoned the nest.

"That (goose) followed her around like a dog" and would run to her when she called, recalled Bob Sterner, Danielle's older brother.

Deborah Taylor said once "Quackers" grew, she suggested that Danielle teach him to fly, so he could join others of his kind.

So Danielle would flap her arms and run down the driveway, and Quackers would watch and follow suit until she succeeded in getting him to fly, Deborah Taylor said.

He stuck around for a short time after that, but then simply flew away one day and was gone.

Danielle's desire to save creatures stayed with her into adulthood. 

Saved injured dog: Not long before she was killed, she saved a small dog that had been hit by a car in the Spring Grove traffic circle, her mother said.

When the York County SPCA couldn't locate the owner, the Taylors adopted him and named him Spencer. He still lives with Deborah Taylor.

Sterner was 22 years old when Danielle was born. He said she never failed to remember his birthday.

"Every year she would call and say, 'Happy birthday, old man,'" he said.

This year, Sterner's birthday coincided with the first day of Henry's double-murder trial, he said.

Deborah Taylor said that on Thursday, the father of Henry's wife and former co-defendant, Veronique Henry, apologized to her and to Sterner for what happened, adding the apology means quite a bit to them.

State police said Foday Cheeks, 31, and Danielle Taylor, 26, were fatally shot inside 706 Brown Road in Fawn Township on Sept. 13, 2016.
(Photo by John Joyce)

"I said right from the start she was a victim too," Deborah Taylor said of Veronique Henry, who killed herself in prison after being charged with the murders. "You can't not feel sympathy (for her family)."

Danielle's family doesn't understand how she became mixed up in drugs, other than that she simply fell in with the wrong people.

"She was my baby sister," Sterner said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.