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Taylor: Two years of freedom can't undo 17 years behind bars

Posted April 12, 2012
Updated April 13, 2012

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— After more than 17 years behind bars for a murder he didn't commit, the two years since Greg Taylor was exonerated have been all about adjusting to freedom and making up for lost time with his family.

"I'm still kind of finding myself," he said earlier this week. "I'm content, but I don't see myself as being normal, per se."

When Taylor walked out of a Wake County courtroom in February 2010, he stepped into a world he didn't recognize. He saw a cellphone for the first time. He used the Internet. He changed out his prison-issued glasses for more modern eyewear. He hugged his family and held them close.

He was free.

Some things had to be learned all over again – eating with a fork and knife, for example. Others came to him naturally – traveling, exercising and spending time with his daughter and grandsons.

Freedom has been good to Taylor. He bought a house in Durham and has traveled the state speaking out about his ordeal.

"I wake up happy, and I go to bed happy," he said.

But it hasn't always been easy.

"You just can't undo 17 years in two years, or even five years, maybe," he said. "You don't have any future with a life sentence, so you just kind of give up all those hopes, all those aspirations."

Greg Taylor Full interview: Greg Taylor talks about life after prison

Now, Taylor is rediscovering his dreams and trying to figure out what to do with the next 17 years – and beyond.

"If I was hopeful of anything today, I would be hopeful to find some purpose for what I've been through," he said. "I'm trying to learn how to be 50 years old when my mind still thinks I'm 30."

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  • Unfair Moderators Stink Apr 16, 9:54 a.m.

    I'd recorded this show and watched it over the weekend. Wow. Very powerful. WRAL did an excellent job at putting this documentary together -- and having it commercial free was great because it kept the story flowing. I fell apart at the end when the 3 judges declared him innocent. Probably one of the most touching and heartfelt events I've ever seen. I'm so glad he was finally able to clear his name and get his life back. He seems like such a nice, kind and humble guy. Good luck to you Greg!

  • itsmyownopinion Apr 13, 7:52 p.m.

    I didn't like seeing/hearing the prosecutor on the special last night. I don't know how he sleeps.

  • ifcdirector Apr 13, 6:30 p.m.

    I am just glad that the police and prosecutors were convicted and/or lost their jobs in this case........wait........never mind. All hail the police state.

  • Spongebob Apr 13, 3:36 p.m.

    "Willoughby described his apology saying, “I told him I’m very sorry he was convicted. I wish we had had all of this evidence in 1991.”"

    I take that back. I thought I read that the state of NC did not apologize but then I just looked it up. Here's a quote from Colon Willoughby after he was freed. Actually they did have the evidence that the blood on his wheel well was from an animal but withheld it. That was the blood mentioned over and over and played a big part in his conviction. The evidence was there, they just led the jury to believe it was human blood and not the animal blood they tested it to be. Maybe the quote should say we are sorry for misleading the jury who was deciding the fate of your life.

  • Crumps Br0ther Apr 13, 2:37 p.m.

    And nobody has ever apologized to this man?

    if you saw the show last night, the prosecuter did apologize after Greg was found innocent. Too me it looked like Greg really had to contril himself to tell the guy what he really thought of him. But he maintained his composure and showed class. And he said something to the effect of, and Im paraphrasing "I think I understand why you did it."

  • danalynhoover874 Apr 13, 2:05 p.m.

    I think that Greg was very forthcoming and frank when talking about his past. He didn't sugarcoat it in any way. He had a job, bought a home, had a beautiful daughter that he adored and his high school sweetheart wife.....and he partied and made some bad choices. Who hasn't???

  • Spongebob Apr 13, 1:53 p.m.

    His lifestyle has nothing to do with this. Big deal...he was a stoner who liked to drink, get high, watch sports and play with his daughter...did you see the videos of him playing with her? Too bad it was the educated professionals who ruined his life by not doing their jobs! The prosecutor who said he never lost any sleep over the case should ashamed of himself! And nobody has ever apologized to this man? You've got to be kidding me! Pardoning him is the one thing Bev Perdue can be proud of! God bless you Greg Taylor! May you be blessed with many remaining wonderful years and have the strength to keep yourself happy!

  • jurydoc Apr 13, 1:50 p.m.

    Does anyone know who the young man was in the courtroom during the trial in 2010, the the tv doc. showed while the state crime lab investigator was on the stand? he looked familiar, but can't place him. wmb95013

    I believe you might be referring to Dwayne Dail, another wrongly convicted and released on DNA evidence NC defendant. See his story here: http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Dwayne_Allen_Dail.php

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 13, 1:24 p.m.

    "No one wants to see someone who is not guilty of a crime be put into prison but nothing has been said about the life style of Mr. Taylor 18 - 20 years ago and why he was in a position to get into this situation. From what I have heard I wonder if Mr. Taylor would have been alive today with the direction he was headed. What kind of father was he back then and would have been over the last 17 years if he made it??? There has got to be a lot more to this story that the media is leaving out! That part is not as sad or looks as bad on the system......
    tgentry1005"

    That's not the point. The point is that the system improperly put him in jail for 17 years. Talking about Taylor's lifestyle can't be used to justify what the system did to him.

  • Ambygirl Apr 13, 12:28 p.m.

    *tgentry

    His lifestyle 18-20 years ago had nothing to do with the fact that he was wrongly convicted. Many lies were told, evidence was tampered with, fabricated and an innocent man was put in prison. HE DID NOT kill that woman and was put in prison wrongly. What if the same thing had been done to you? None of has a perfect life, none of us is without 'sin' and none of us should be convicted of a crime we did not commit regardless of the skeletons in our closets.

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