HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A petition to publicly hang Benjamin Taylor, the West Virginia man accused of brutally sexually assaulting a 10-month-old girl who died this week, was removed from the White House's website Friday after receiving tens of thousands of signatures.
The website did not specify a reason beyond stating that the petition violated its terms of participation. It was not immediately clear when the petition was taken down, but it had received at least 50,000 signatures before being removed.
The petition on the White House's "We the People" calling for Taylor to be publicly hanged was posted Tuesday by a person identified as "J.R."
The petitioner wrote: "Prison is too good for child rapists and their ilk. I would move to say that our 'justice system' is even a part of the problem, in that incarceration is hardly justice when it comes to such an awful act ... Let us hang these creatures publicly. Let us make examples of them, and allow the American people to attend these hangings so that the accused may be ridiculed."
Had the petition received the required 100,000 signatures by Nov. 4, the White House would have had to issue a response, according to the website's policy.
The petition was started one day after Taylor, 32, was discovered with his girlfriend’s severely injured baby in the basement of the apartment they shared.
Emmaleigh Elizabeth Barringer was naked, covered with blood and unconscious when she was found by her mother, according to the baby's aunt.
At the time the petition was posted, Emmaleigh had already been pronounced brain dead. She died the following day from her injuries, which were described by family members as "extensive."
Taylor was initially charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault, but a murder charge was added after the girl’s death, Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs told West Virginia-area television station WSAZ.
Boggs described the case as one of the worst he’s seen in his career.
“I have not and hope to never again,” he said. “I don’t know of any normal human that could fathom what would possess somebody to do that."
West Virginia abolished capital punishment decades ago, though another case spurred one state lawmaker to promise that he would introduce legislation to bring the death penalty back to the state in the next legislative session, West Virginia Metro News reported.
A vigil for Emmaleigh is scheduled for Friday night in Pasadena, Maryland, according to a GoFundMe page set up by the family to help cover funeral costs. The infant's funeral will take place on Oct. 17.