Pandemic Stress Made Man Kill His Own Children

The “devoted family man” reached a breaking point.

Malinda Fusco
4 min readApr 4, 2021


Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr.; Daily Mail News

On November 29, 2020, two children were stabbed and decapitated by their father. The remaining two children were forced to view their siblings’ bodies over a course of five days.

Lancaster, California Mayor Parris commented that the pandemic had led to increased stress and desperation among citizens. This is the disturbing, true story of what happens when that stress reaches a breaking point.

“A Kind and Gentle Man”

According to friends, clients, and associates, Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr. was described as a “kind and gentle” man. They were shocked by the violent crime that happened within his home.

However, some clients reported that Maurice was under a lot of financial pressure. The pandemic had made life difficult for personal trainers and those who relied primarily on face-to-face interactions for income. As such, Maurice had taken his personal training sessions online, maintaining clients through Zoom sessions at home.

Taylor’s Home; Boston25 News

Even under pressure, Howard Kern, a client of Maurice’s, said that he only knew Maurice as a “devoted family man.” Other clients described him as “mellow.”

Furthermore, police attested that to their knowledge the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services had not been involved with the family. However, one person who didn’t approve of Maurice was Debra Brothwell, the maternal grandmother of the children.

Pushed Away

Debra Brothwell was living every grandma’s worst fear: her daughter, son-in-law, and four grandchildren moved out of state. Before the move, Debra would see her grandchildren nearly every day. After the move to California years ago, the distance grew.

As the years went by, Debra saw and heard from her family less and less. They were “taken away by a controlling son-in-law.” Then, in November, Debra received an unimaginable call…