A Mississippi man working at a Christian recovery center has helped police solve a cold case by making a shocking confession: he was the killer they had been looking for all along.
James Eric Crisp, 37, “walked into the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, [August] 30 and confessed to killing Roger Taylor,” according to WTVA-TV.
Taylor, of Alabama, was declared missing in March of 2019. Police, who conducted a follow-up search for him in 2020, had no clue as to his whereabouts — until Crisp showed up.
Crisp, who’s had prior run-ins with law enforcement, works at the faith-based recovery center God’s House of Hope in the town of Kilmichael. He reportedly turned himself in after experiencing a “heavy spiritual conviction while teaching and preaching” to men at the center.
“Crisp stated to Sheriff [Kevin] Crook that he was no longer the person he was in 2019, and it was becoming more and more difficult to talk to the men in recovery about the freedom found in Christ while carrying his secret,” the station reports, citing a release from the sheriff’s office.
Crisp confessed to having killed Taylor on March 10, 2019, and hiding his body. Despite his confession, Sheriff’s officials were still having difficulty finding Taylor’s corpse.
From a Life of Drugs to Leading Others to Christ
Crisp, a former drug addict, was highlighted by local media in August 2021 for his stirring testimony of leaving a life of drugs to serve God. He spoke about how being arrested in 2019 eventually led to his spiritual change.
Just months after Taylor, 48, had been reported missing in 2019 Crisp was sent to prison on felony drug charges. Instead of spending 30 years behind bars as he had been anticipating, Crisp was instead sent to God’s House of Hope.
Crisp, raised by drug-addicted parents, told news station WCBI-TV that the hardest part of facing the consequences for his crimes at the time was losing his children.
“I was laying there in my rack in Monroe County Jail and I told Jesus, I said, ‘If this 30 mandatory years is what you have in your will for me to go do,’ I said, ‘I’ll do it,'” he said.
In that same 2021 interview, Crisp described his work as a counselor at God’s House of Hope of Kilmichael as “leading people to Jesus.” He and his two children reportedly had been living at the center.
Though it took Crisp three years to confess to killing Taylor, others at God’s House of Hope believed he was a changed man.
“God has radically transformed him just since he’s been here,” an October 2020 Facebook post declares. “Eric was bound by anger and doubt. We have seen Jesus set this man free!”
Officials at the center also sent letters to the judge overseeing Crisp’s manslaughter case, vouching for the former drug addict’s newfound character and faith.
The sheriff’s office charged Crisp with manslaughter for his 2019 crime, while the judge set his bond at $150,000. It was unclear how his former felony drug charges could impact his sentencing.