Judge delays trial of man charged in Brooksville triple homicide

BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando County judge on Wednesday continued until Jan. 23 the trial of George Mason, III, who is charged with slaying three people.
Judge-delays-trial-of-man-charged-in-Brooksville-triple-homicide

Mason, 42, faces three charges of first-degree murder with a firearm in an Aug. 30 shooting rampage that left three dead, including the mother of two of Mason’s young daughters.

A fourth person, Mason’s half-brother, was seriously wounded in the incident. Brooksville Police said that Mason shot Gabriel Taylor five times in the middle of Martin Luther King Boulevard before Mason was hit by a full-size Dodge Ram pickup, ending the carnage.

Killed were Jannie Taylor, 81, and Ralph Peyton, 29, both of 820 Peach Street, where investigators say the shootings began, and Tarasha Townsend, 37, the mother of Mason’s daughters who lived with him in Lutz.

Taylor and Peyton were killed inside the house; Townsend was killed in the street.

Gabriel Taylor also was initially shot inside the house. Taylor fled the house when Mason went outside to shoot Townsend, but Mason caught up to him on Martin Luther King, where investigators said he continued shooting until being hit by the pickup.

No motive for the rampage has been established.

The driver of the pickup, traveling about 45 mph when it struck Mason, was cooperative with investigators and was not charged with a crime.

Besides the murder charges, Mason faces charges of committing a felony with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and armed burglary. Represented by public defender Devon Sharkey, Mason pleaded not guilty to the charges in September.

Judge Steven Toner on Wednesday continued the trial until Jan. 23.

Mason, who has a long criminal history, was seriously injured when he was hit by the pickup, reportedly suffering broken vertebrae and other bones, but he was walking under his own power as early as Sept. 30, when he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A convicted felon, Mason has been arrested numerous times on various charges involving drugs, domestic battery, sexual activity with a minor, violating a restraining order, stalking and fleeing to elude law enforcement, records show.

Mason’s criminal record in Hernando dates to at least as early as 1991, when he was arrested and charged with trafficking cocaine. For that crime, he was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, according to the Florida Department of Corrections’ website.

In 1995, Mason was sentenced to five years, two months in prison after being convicted in Volusia County on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence, along with a weapons charge, records show.

gfox@tampatrib.com

(352) 544-5283

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