Raleigh, N.C. — The sister of a woman found beaten to death in a Raleigh cul-de-sac in 1991 is calling on the state to open an investigation into the death more than two years after a man who spent nearly two decades in prison for the crime was exonerated.
Gregory Taylor was convicted in April 1993 in the Sept. 26, 1991, beating death of 26-year-old Jacquetta Thomas, but in February 2010, a special three-judge panel unanimously decided there was clear and convincing evidence that proved he did not commit the crime.
Shortly after Taylor was freed, Raleigh police reopened the murder case, but Thomas' sister, Yolanda Littlejohn, says she does not have confidence that the Raleigh Police Department and Wake County District Attorney's Office can bring justice in the case.
"Too many years have passed, and now, we hear nothing," Littlejohn, of Garner, said Monday. "I don't want my sister's case to be forgotten, because her murder hasn't been solved."
A spokesman for the Raleigh Police Department says the case is still open and that leads are still being sought in the case.
"(Initially,) they put two new detectives on it who put in lots of hours and thousands of dollars, and the only new leads we developed pointed back to Greg Taylor and (his friend) Johnny Beck," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said.
Taylor and Beck were arrested on the same day that Thomas was found dead on South Blount Street in in southeast Raleigh, where Taylor had gotten his truck stuck in mud.
Police later dropped the charges against Beck because they didn't have enough evidence. Taylor was convicted in April 1993, but was declared innocent nearly 17 years later after it was determined that physical evidence linking him to the crime was discredited.
Willoughby says that, given the fact the SBI misreported blood testing at Taylor's 1993 trial, he does not believe it is prudent to let the agency handle the case.
Littlejohn, however, says she believes that neither the police department nor the DA's office wants to acknowledge that they arrested and prosecuted an innocent man.
"I don't see any reason why the police can't do this investigation," Willoughby said. "We've got new chief and new detectives – a completely new department."
Littlejohn, however, is not satisfied. "I'm not going away," she said.