For the first time in five years a murder trial began in Bass Lake this week, for an alleged killer who, according to one witness, killed a 23-year-old woman when he went on a stabbing rampage inside a vehicle on Highway 41 just north of Oakhurst last November.
George Taylor-Windsor, 26 and recently living in Oakhurst, was charged with first degree murder and attempted murder after he allegedly killed Jessica Nelson, also known as Jessica Cartwright, from Foresthill, and repeatedly stabbed the vehicle’s driver Reid Kallenberg.
Kallenberg, of Auburn, survived with five stab wounds, a punctured lung, crushed ribs, and intestinal damage. Pathologist testimony at a preliminary hearing in November showed Nelson, Kallenberg’s girlfriend, died from 17 stab wounds, mostly to her back, chest, and neck.
Jury selection began Monday, and was expected to take a few days. Once complete, the trial was expected to last about two to three weeks in the Sierra Division of Madera County Superior Court.
“It’s good to see the Bass Lake court holding significant trials again,” said David Linn, Madera County District Attorney who attended Monday’s hearing. “It’s taken years to get the court back to a full time schedule.”
At the November hearing, Kallenberg testified on Nov. 15 himself, Nelson, Taylor-Windsor, and an unidentified man he referred to only as “Florida” were on the way to Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino from Bass Lake around 10:30 p.m.
All four knew each other, some less than 24 hours, as they recently traveled to the Mountain Area to look for work in the logging industry.
It appeared, Kallenberg said, that Taylor-Windsor was in touch by phone with a romantic interest, possibly the mother of his son.
“I don’t know if he’s married to her or not, but he called her and we all heard him leave a voicemail ... then he asked me, ‘what would you write in your last email to your son,’” Kallenberg said.
Kallenberg said Taylor-Windsor, sitting in the back seat of Kallenberg’s Ford F250 pick-up, mumbled to himself, stood up, then began stabbing at everyone in the vehicle. The vehicle crashed into a rocky hillside, prompting response by emergency personnel and law enforcement. The man called “Florida” vanished at that point, Kallenberg said.
Craig Collins, Taylor-Windsor’s attorney, has maintained his client is innocent, and instead claims that Taylor-Windsor was assaulted by Kallenberg, possibly with the intention for Kallenberg and Nelson to rob or kill him.
If convicted, Taylor-Windsor faces 37 years to life in prison. He remains in Madera County Jail without bail.