Murders A-Z is a collection of true crime stories that take an in-depth look at both little-known and infamous murders throughout history.
He was a star athlete, and in the small town of Bloomfield, Connecticut that made him very popular with the girls of his high school. But 18-year-old T.J. Mitchell had a secret he didn’t want exposed, one he feared would have put his popularity in jeopardy.
In 2013, T.J. was senior captain of his football team. He attracted a lot of attention both on the field and off. He would constantly be inundated with flirty texts from his female classmates—and by his senior year he had a girlfriend, 17-year-old Brittany Jenkins. T.J. also had an older best friend, 27-year-old Ronald Taylor, who he met through his step-brother and even though there was a nine-year age gap between them, they were quick to become besties. T.J. seemed to have everything going for him. However, he was involved in a deadly altercations just a few nights before a big football game between two high school rival.
As recounted on Oxygen’s “#KillerPost," the Bloomfield Police Department received a 911 call about a fight. When police got to the scene, they found a bloody man on a lawn and a teen standing over him who was also bloody. The teen was T.J. The man, his best friend, Ronald Taylor. Ronald had been stabbed 19 times all over his body. T.J.’s injuries were less intense: deep cuts to his hands. Police determined that a serrated steak knife was used in the attack.
According to T.J., he and Ronald were hanging outside of T.J.’s house, discussing the upcoming football game when two men in black hoodies and sweats attacked them from behind. Not long after the stabbing, Ronald was pronounced dead by the medical staff. Police began investigating the murder, which rocked the small town. Because nobody was robbed, police felt like the motive was personal abd they couldn’t understand who would want to hurt the popular teen and his buddy.
Police soon learned Ronald was a suspected marijuana dealer that introduced his teen friend T.J. to marijuana. Diving deeper, authorities discovered that Ronald had been stabbed in the past by a teenager. They thought that maybe that attacker was a suspect in the new stabbing, but the lead went cold when police found that he was incarcerated in juvenile detention at the time of the stabbing.
After police found Ronald’s phone while conducting a search of his car, they realized that Ronald had introduced T.J. to something more than marijuana. Suzanne Laiuppa, a detective with the Bloomfield Police Department told “#KillerPost:” When you go through somebody’s cell phone records, you are looking for who their friends are, who their acquaintances are, who they might or might not be getting along with. You’re reading the content of the text messages to see what’s leading up to this.”
And Ronald’s text messages told quite a story, one that revealed that he and T.J. were in a secret romantic relationship. T.J. told detectives that he wanted a friendship but Ronald wanted more. "I’m really not gay, like, I’m really not," said T.J. "It’s just….I was drunk."
He told police that he was drunk, and high, and scared when he first had sex with Ronald.
“He forced me into it,” T.J. said.
After they engaged in sex they continued sleeping together. T.J. said if he didn’t, Ronald would expose their relationship to the entire community.
“It was like I’m a hostage. If I don’t, if I don’t do this then he’s going to expose me,” T.J. said. “He told me that he was gonna expose me on Facebook.”
Not only his reputation, but also his relationship with Brittany, his girlfriend. Around the same time, police canvassed the neighborhood looking for witnesses of the stabbing. A young woman said she saw the altercation. But she only saw one male stabbing another and she definitely didn’t see anyone sporting hoodies. It didn’t take long for T.J. to admit that he stabbed his best friend. Apparently, Ronald was jealous of the attention that T.J. received from girls. And, he was especially jealous after T.J. got a girlfriend. According to “#KillerPost,” Ronald only found out that T.J. was in a relationship after he spotted T.J. and Brittany at a football game together. He was not pleased. They got into a pretty bad fight which resulted in Ronald outing his friend on Facebook. He tagged him in a photograph of T.J. in his football uniform. The caption read, “Bloomfield’s Gay Football Star,” as reported on Fox61. T.J. called his angry B.F.F. and convinced him to take the post down before friends and family saw. Ronald complied but only under the condition that T.J. continue to sleep with him and that he break up with Brittany.
“T.J.: He even said he was gonna post it on my mom’s wall, my grandma’s wall. He didn’t care.”
T.J. didn’t follow through on his promise. He kept dating his girlfriend and Ronald was suspicious. On the day of the killing, Ronald texted the football star and told him they needed to have a talk, one that wouldn’t end well.
Nervous, T.J. pocketed a steak knife.
“My whole mentality was to just talk to him about this so I could clear everything with us so we could just go our separate ways without it being a problem.”
But Ronald made T.J. show him his phone to prove he wasn’t still with Brittany. When he learned that T.J. did not keep his promise, he became irate and soon after Ronald got violent. T.J. claimed Ronald punched him in the face. That’s when T.J. began stabbing him.
T.J. was initially charged with murder, but after considering his age, and the sexual assault allegations against his friend, the District Attorney offered TJ a plea deal that reduced the charge to manslaughter. T.J. took the deal and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, as reported in the Hartford Courant.
[Photo: Bloomfield Police Department]
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