McCreary murder plot suspect says he was trying to help

By Matthew Rand | 

PINE KNOT, Ky. (WYMT) - Police say she was assaulted, robbed, tazed and handcuffed, but one of the men accused of plotting to kill a McCreary County woman says he was only trying to help.

Police say Timothy Prater admitted to them that he received money to to kill Debbie Taylor, but today he said he only got involved so that no one else would try to hurt her. He says what happened is unfortunate, but he claims he tried to stop it.

The McCreary County Sheriff says 30-year-old Timothy Prater of Somerset told police he received $1,500 to kill Debbie Taylor of Pine Knot. Prater is accused of first degree robbery, impersonating a police officer and unlawful imprisonment. He says he was only trying to help.

"It's in my character to help people, and when I try to help I ... I made the wrong ... choices when I tried to help. Put trust in the wrong people, and now I'm here," he said.

Police say Prater and two other men showed up at Taylor's home on Richard Stephens Road around 5:30 Thursday morning. Police say the trio identified themselves as FBI agents before beginning the assault. Prater insists he is innocent and was actually trying to protect Taylor when all of this happened.

"I thought as long as I was the one in the hot seat, no one else would then consider to hurt her."

Prater says he tried to fight off the two other men as they attacked Taylor. He says they did not get the message that they were there to guard Taylor, not hurt her.

"I was trying to figure out a way to keep her safe, and instead she got harmed because of me," he said.

Prater says he regrets everything that happened, and wishes he could undo the pain Taylor experienced.

In another twist to this case, Regina Stephens, the woman Prater said paid him to kill Debbie Taylor, was found dead in her home Friday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police are still looking for the other two men believed to have been involved in the attack, and they expect more arrests to follow soon.

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