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Innocence Commission hears about another inmate

Posted September 3, 2009
Updated September 11, 2009

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— During an interview with the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, a state inmate burst into tears and asked them what would happen if he confessed to a murder another man was convicted for, an investigator testified on Thursday in Raleigh.

Greg Taylor, 47, was convicted of killing Jacquetta Thomas, 26, a prostitute who was stabbed and bludgeoned to death in Raleigh in 1991. Taylor's white Nissan Pathfinder was found near Thomas' body on Blount Street.

Innocence commission considers 1991 murder Sept. 3 Innocence Commission hearing (afternoon session)

Taylor maintains his innocence and is asking the commission to decide if there's enough evidence for a release hearing. If commissioners agree, a three-judge panel would determine if the evidence is strong enough to overturn his conviction.

Taylor's previous appeals have failed.

A commission investigator did a series of interviews with another inmate – Craig H. Taylor, 40, who isn't related to Greg Taylor. During those interviews, the investigator said Craig Taylor asked what would happen if he confessed to Thomas' murder.

For the past six years, Craig Taylor has been at the Lumberton Correctional Institution after being convicted as a habitual felon conviction. Craig, who was also convicted for selling drugs, was living in Raleigh at the time of Thomas' death, according to a commission investigator.

Innocence commission takes up 1991 Raleigh slaying Victim's daughter speaks on Innocence Commission

The investigator is expected to speak on Friday about further interviews with Craig Taylor.

Sierra Pharr, Thomas' daughter, said she doesn't believe Taylor deserves another chance at freedom.

"All the evidence points to him. I know he murdered my mother," Pharr said.

On Thursday, witnesses talked about seeing either Thomas or Taylor before the murder.

An eight-person commission is reviewing physical evidence, including a substance on Taylor's truck that might not be blood as prosecutors originally believed. The commission retested DNA from Thomas' underwear to see if it matches Taylor's.

Then-Gov. Mike Easley created the innocence commission in August 2006 to consider new evidence in felony cases. The eight judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and law enforcement officers review claims of innocence from convicted criminals and consider new evidence that might justify a new verdict.

Nearly 500 inmates have asked the innocence commission to look at their cases. Of those 375 were rejected, nine made it the investigation stage, and two to a formal hearing.

Among the applicants, 24 percent were convicted of murder, and 20 percent were convicted of sex crimes with children.

Pharr, who was six when her mother was killed, said she hopes for justice.

"Regardless of the lifestyle or whatever you might call it my mother, she was still a person, she was still a human being, and she still had feelings," she said. "I feel like he needs to stay in prison, because she left four children behind."

Thomas' other daughter, Komeka Thomas, said the commission looking into the case has brought back painful memories.

"It's even worse. Now that the whole case has been brought back to the public," Komeka Thomas said. "We're having to relive that when some of us just found closure...it's not right."

Taylor's mother, step-father and brother attended Thursday's hearing. They said they fully support Taylor and believe he is innocent.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • banditkitty6 Sep 4, 2009

    Innocent is innocent, period. If this man did not commit the crime and it can be proven, then he should be set free. I am uncertain as to how Ms. Pharr is certain that a certain man murdered her mother considering she was little? I also have issue with the family complaining about this being dragged out into the open again. I understand that it is painful for them, but certainly 16 years behind bars for a crime you did not commit is also painful. Right is right, and while it may hurt, the truth must be discovered...

  • lovecarolinagutters Sep 4, 2009

    ...and once again the comments are not about guilt or innocence, but race. grow up people.

    and for those of you who think because he sold heroin, he should spend the rest of his day in prison, are you really that ignorant?

  • nandud Sep 3, 2009

    Come on WRAL. Post the story: Craig Taylor confesses to the murder. Gregory Taylor is INNOCENT!

  • nandud Sep 3, 2009


    This was just posted. Mr. Taylor is NOT GUILTY! Someone else confessed.

  • LambeauSouth Sep 3, 2009

    But Professor, they said the same about Mr. Abbitt did they not?
    and others before him, fact is our system is not perfect and do you know why dear Professor, Because we are Human

  • Here kitty kitty Sep 3, 2009

    Professor, How can he do it again if he didn't do it the first time? Let's wait and see what the evidence says, whaddya say?

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Sep 3, 2009

    Greg, Craig? Which one is it?

  • Professor Sep 3, 2009

    I hope the commission don't turn this killer lose. He will do it again.

  • Professor Sep 3, 2009

    I give him credit for at least trying. Who would want to live in prison for life or even one day.

  • MakoII Sep 3, 2009

    Whether DNA evidence acquits or not depends on it's importance in the case to begin with, and other circumstantial evidence.

    It can't prove innocence necessarily.

    Nor can it prove guilt in some VERY rare cases.

    After all, you CAN frame someone with DNA.