The mother of a 22-year-old Florida man accused of fatally shooting the son of a pastor inside the parking lot of his church in Winter Haven on Sunday morning said he had been struggling mentally for several days prior to the killing and blamed his actions on a “demonic spirit.”
“I’m devastated. Very devastated about this situation,” Shavon Sheffield, the mother of 22-year-old murder suspect, Taquion “Quan” Cotton, told WTSP Monday night as she stood in front of Pentecostal Church of God in Winter Haven where her son is accused of shooting 20-year-old Roderick Wilson Jr.
Wilson Jr.’s father, Roderick Wilson Sr., is a pastor at the Pentecostal Church of God.
“He opened up a demonic spirit that he can’t control,” said Sheffield of her son, who Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference Monday was caught on surveillance video shooting Wilson Jr. “in cold blood,” in the parking lot of his father’s church.
“I don’t believe the video or whatever they showed me looked like my son. I asked to see other angles and they wouldn’t show me,” she said, noting that even though her son was not sane over the last several days, she doesn’t believe he killed the pastor’s son.
Judd said the first 911 call about Wilson Jr.’s murder came in at 1:47 a.m. local time on Sunday, but investigators believe that the pastor’s son was murdered at around 12:51 a.m.
“We know that Taquion Cotton, who’s 22, who’s our murderer, drove up to the church and they had an initial confrontation out in the street where there was some pushing and talking, and Roderick pulled his jacket off. And then Quan drove away. Then we have video that shows that Quan drove back. And in the parking lot of the church, he and Wilson had further words, and he shot and killed Roderick,” Judd said.
The sheriff said the body of the pastor’s son lay in the parking lot for about one hour before a good Samaritan drove by and noticed he was lying in a pool of blood.
Cotton, who is currently in police custody on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and other crimes, was noted as a known gang member with a violent history of 11 felony arrests and six misdemeanor arrests.
In one arrest record from June 2020, Cotton was charged by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office with attempted second-degree murder. In August 2022, Cotton was also charged with one count of aggravated battery on a pregnant person, one count of domestic violence battery touch or strike, and one count of resisting (arrest) without violence.
Sheffield, when she heard that deputies were searching for her son in connection with the murder of Wilson Jr., got worried that he would get killed so she went looking for him with the police.
She said when she found him, he was trying to give a woman money and she tried to dissuade him from doing that.
“He grabbed my hand, was biting it, the police with the Taser kept telling him he was going to tase him and I said, ‘Please don’t tase my son. He’s not doing nothing. He’s not armed.’ He’s got me. So I said, ‘Whatever you need to do, just bite me,'” Sheffield explained.
When the sheriff was asked about Cotton’s mental capacity to be tried for Wilson Jr.’s murder because he was saying “bizarre” things at his court hearing, he said the preliminary evidence suggests that Cotton acted with intent in the murder of the pastor’s son.
“Certainly people say bizarre things if they want to create a defense. So quite frankly, does he have mental health issues? I’m certain that his lawyers will go down that path. But we’ve also got to remember, a lot of these criminals play games with us,” Judd said.
“This is a no game zone. We’re gonna lock you up. You can say all the craziness you want to say but we know this, that not only did you (Cotton) fuss with him (Wilson Jr.), not only did you shove each other around, but when he drove off, we have video of him coming back and circling the block and … looking for our victim,” he said.
“And when he found our victim in the church parking lot, he got out of his car and shot him and killed him. So he can say all the crazy things he wants. Keep in mind, the law simply says that you had the capacity to understand what you did was wrong. And he certainly did that,” Judd explained about Cotton.
“In my estimation, from the early information we have, which is always subject to change, he stalked this guy. Something in that first meeting they had on the side of the road in the middle of the night made him really, really mad,” said Judd. “So he came back, looking for Roderick so he could murder him. This was premeditated. And that’s what he’s charged with.”
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