Written by Gene Barron
In the 1970’s it was common practice of the Union Parish Sheriff’s department to make arrests on Saturday nights. Their reason was that the perpetrator would be subjected to spending two nights in jail before they would be able to get out of jail on bond until Monday morning. When attorney Armond Rabun heard of this practice, his comment was, “You’re going to get someone killed. These people are usually enjoying themselves on Saturday nights and this action could throw them into a rage and take actions that they would later regret.”
On Saturday, September 15, 1978, Robert V. “Piddle” Taylor went to Roger D. Bryan’s home to serve a warrant issued by the grand jury. (Roger Daniel Bryan and Cheryl Doniese Long were married in Union Parish on December 10, 1977). Bryan was to be charged with theft of money from a vending machine. Bryan was at home with his wife and baby when Deputy Taylor arrived at their home late that evening. After entering the home Taylor and Bryan evidently got into a tussle that resulted in Taylor being shot twice, once in the groin and once in the abdomen. He managed to get to his car and call for help as he struggled to drive away from the Bryan’s home.
Deputy Glenn Barron was at the sheriff’s office when the call came in and he and Chris Wadlington, the EMT on duty at the time, responded. They found Taylor in his car, along the side of the road, a short distance from the Bryan home. Wadlington decided that Taylor’s condition warranted them transporting him to the hospital rather than waiting for an ambulance. Wadlington slid him over and got behind the steering wheel and transported him to the hospital in Farmerville. From there he was transported to Glenwood Hospital in West Monroe where he died at 3:45 on Sunday morning.
The Bryans fled the state but was apprehended in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at about 2 pm Sunday afternoon. Union Parish Deputy Glenn Barron flew to Tuscaloosa to transport Bryan, who was charged with murder, and his wife, who had been charged with accessory to the fact, back to Union Parish. The Bryan’s baby was turned over to welfare personnel there who were in charge of returning the child to the Union Parish welfare officials and Barron flew the suspects back to Union Parish.
In January 1979 at his trial, Bryan confessed to the killing of Deputy Taylor. Bryan’s wife collaborated the confession and he was therefore convicted of murder. His wife later changed her testimony and said that she was the one who had actually shot Taylor. She was unconvincing and on the third trip to the Louisiana Supreme Court on February 25, 1983 the 1979 conviction was upheld. Roger D. Bryan is presently serving a life sentence in prison without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.
At some point, after Bryan’s trial, Deputy Glenn Barron was served with papers charging him with kidnapping of the Bryan child. That case was later thrown out of court.
In January 1988 and again in January 1989 Roger D. Bryan applied for clemency but these applications were evidently denied.
Why Bryan resorted to murder over a simple burglary charge may never be known, but the taking of a good man’s life which resulted, to date, spending 38 years in the state penitentiary seems an extreme reaction.
NOTE: Robert V. Taylor will be one of several Union Parish officers who’s name will be on the memorial marker that will honor fallen officers. The granite marker will be placed on the Union Parish courthouse square. To donate an account has been set up at Marion State Bank under Memorial for Union Parish Fallen Officers.
NOTE FROM BURT GREEN: Deputy Taylor was 45 years old and a six year veteran of the UPSO. He left behind a wife and six children. One of his children went on to be a police officer and carries Dy. Taylor’s service weapon still to this day.
Gene has also written two historical books on Union Parish. I highly recommend both.