Suspect to Stand Trial in Couple's Beating

From Times Staff Reports

A Santa Barbara man accused of beating an elderly couple after he drove his truck into the yard of their Oak View home will stand trial on charges of attempted murder, elder abuse and vandalism, a judge decided Thursday.

David Taggart, 35, is set to be arraigned July 31, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Bruce Young, following a preliminary hearing in Ventura.

The Feb. 2 attack left 77-year-old Mary Thompson with a fractured cheekbone, a fracture near her eye and severe trauma to the head. Her husband, 83-year-old Ben Thompson, also suffered head and eye injuries.

If convicted on all charges, Taggart, who is in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail, faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

His attorney called the attack the result of "drug-induced psychosis" due to a cocaine binge.

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