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Former College Football Star Charged With Fatally Poisoning Pregnant Girlfriend

Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A former college football star who went on to work as an NFL scout is facing murder charges over the poisoning deaths of his girlfriend and her unborn child, which the gridder is thought to have fathered.

Blaise A. Taylor, 27, was arrested Thursday evening in Utah by the U.S. Marshals Service on two counts of first-degree murder, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department. Taylor was an All-Sun Belt defensive back and punt returner at Arkansas State, and was hired by the Tennessee Titans in 2019 as a scouting assistant.

At 9:38 p.m. on February 25, 2023, Taylor, who was living in Nashville at the time, called 911 and said his girlfriend, Jade Benning, appeared to be having an allergic reaction of some kind, the MNPD said. Paramedics rushed Benning to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where her condition “immediately worsened,” according to the MNPD. Her 5-month old fetus died two days later; Benning died on March 6, 2023—her 25th birthday.

Police were unable to interview Benning prior to her death. However, the MNPD said in a press release, Taylor “is alleged to have poisoned Benning without her knowledge while visiting her Lebanon Pike apartment on the night of February 25.” He subsequently moved to Utah, and last June began working at Utah State University as a defensive analyst for the school’s Division I football team, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Nine days ago, Taylor took a position as a defensive backs coach at Texas A&M, where his father, Trooper, is a running backs coach and associate head coach.

A Nashville grand jury handed down the indictment against Taylor on Wednesday.

Benning, an accomplished chef who grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, “had a smile that would light up the room, a laugh that was contagious, and a heart that loved everyone (well there were a few exceptions),” her obituary said.

“In addition to her passion for cooking, she enjoyed taking time to travel as much as possible,” it went on. “She loved her tattoos, music, and a good Netflix series. But most of all, she loved spending time with the extensive group [of] friends and family who got to share her warmth over the years.”

The months-investigation was led by MNPD Homicide Unit Det. Adam Reese, who was assisted by the city’s crime lab and medical examiner’s office, the department said. Authorities in Tennessee will now work with their Utah counterparts to return Taylor to Nashville.

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