LANSING (WWJ) – A man who pleaded guilty to intentionally striking and killing a Lansing firefighter with his pickup truck will spend the next few decades of his life behind bars.
Grant Taylor, 24, was sentenced Thursday to spend 30 to 40 years in prison. Grant pleaded guilty but mentally ill last month to second-degree murder, fleeing police and failing to stop at the scene. The deal set his minimum sentence at 30 years in prison; there was no maximum. Prosecutors had asked for a 50-year sentence.
Taylor, who has a history of bipolar disorder and other mental illness, had been found unfit for trial following a series of evaluations last year.
Dennis Rodeman, 35, was struck and killed in September 2015 at the intersection of Cedar and Jolly roads while collecting donations for Fill the Boot — an annual fundraising campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and International Association of Firefighters.
Taylor, who was 22 at the time, told police he was angry with the firefighters whose charitable efforts were slowing traffic. He fled following the crash and, according to police, expressed no remorse about what he’d done.
Court records show Taylor’s mother had petitioned Ingham County Probate Court twice the two years leading up to the incident to involuntarily hospitalize him for mental health reasons.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero called Rodeman, a seven-year veteran of LFD who also served in the U.S. Marine Corps, “a hero twice over” — calling his death “a senseless, unthinkable tragedy” that shocked the community.
Rodeman’s wife was pregnant with their first child at the time of his death.
Taylor originally faced a charge of first-degree murder, which carried a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.