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Innocence commission hearing in 1991 murder continues

Posted September 4, 2009

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— The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission continued hearing evidence Friday in the case of a Cary man convicted in the 1991 stabbing and beating death of a 26-year-old Raleigh woman.

9/4 N.C. Innocence commission hearing, morning session Sept. 4 Innocence Commission hearing (morning session)

Greg Taylor was convicted of killing Jacquetta Thomas, a prostitute whose body police found on Blount Street early Sept. 26, 1991. He came to police's attention when he and his friend, Johnny Beck, came to retrieve his truck, which was stuck in mud nearby, witnesses told the commission.

Greg Taylor, though, has maintained his innocence and appealed to the innocence commission. It will decide if there's enough evidence to send the case onto a three-judge panel for a release hearing.

Friday's hearing continued with testimony from commission investigator Sharon Stellato, who interviewed witnesses, lawyers and police officers involved in the original trial.

On Thursday, Stellato said that another inmate, Craig H. Taylor, 40, asked what would happen if he confessed to Thomas' murder. Craig Taylor, who was convicted of being a habitual felon and selling drugs, was in Raleigh at the time of Thomas' death, she said.

Testing on DNA, hairs and another substance found on Thomas and Greg Taylor's truck were inconclusive, according to evidence presented Thursday. The DNA did not match Greg Taylor's, and a substance on the tire of Greg Taylor's truck could not be proved to be blood, which prosecutors had argued in the original trial.

The commission also heard from a woman who worked as a prostitute under the name Eva Marie Kelly at the time of Thomas' death. She talked to police in 1991 and testified at the 1993 trial about seeing Greg Taylor and Beck partying with Thomas on the night of her death.

Stellato said the woman's testimony to the commission, though, showed some inconsistencies, including the color of a truck, the time she saw the men, and whether the she an agreement in return for testifying at the trial.

Charges against Beck were eventually dismissed.

Ernest Andrews told the commission he was in a cell with Greg Taylor the night he was arrested and doesn't understand why he was convicted. Today, he wouldn't recognize Greg Taylor "if he walked through that door right," Andrews said.

In the 1993 trial, Andrews testified that Greg Taylor confessed to killing Thomas.

Thomas' daughter, Sierra Parr, said that prosecutors argued that Greg Taylor was Thomas' heroin supplier and killed her when she refused his sexual advances.

Stellato said she had found no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.

The innocence commission was created 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.


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  • Mom2two Sep 4, 2009

    Of course I'm not saying he committed murder, or if he didn't that he deserves to spend all this time in prison, but my daddy taught me a long time ago that if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, and you are where you are supposed to be, generally speaking, bad things don't happen to you. When you have a nice house in Cary, a wife with a good job, and a 12yo daughter at home, if you are at home with them, no murder charge. If you are down a dead-end street, in an industrial area, smoking crack, and then ignore the body laying near your car, then I say that the odds are MUCH greater that your behind will be in hot water.

  • auto3440 Sep 4, 2009

    There needs to be some kind of law that prosecutes a DA when they knowing railroad a person for a crime they did not do. If the DA with holds evidence or does any thing unethical and a person is convicted of a crime they did not do the DA should be disbarred, arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison. The DA is a criminal if he convicts someone unjustly and should be prosecuted.

  • hazeyc Sep 4, 2009

    I'll agree that Greg's lifestyle made him a suspect in the first place. But, that does not mean someone is a murderer. When it comes to something as huge as murder the prosecuters need to get it right.

    We know from Texas that lots of innocent people are in jail. And it is very scary. I think the scariest thing ever would be to be targeted for a crime I did not commit.

    I understand that Greg has advanced his schooling and helped teach others while in prison.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Sep 4, 2009

    beachboater: "The thought of any person in prison that is actually innocent is very scary."

    I agree with you IF the person has a clean record other than that one false conviction. If they have any other crime on their record, I don't feel sorry for them. Their lifestyle probably made them a suspect in the first place.

  • hazeyc Sep 4, 2009

    Greg Taylor is a friend of mine and my brother-in-laws best friend. He did not do it! There was no hard evidence that he did. That is why the innocence committee has taken his case this far!
    Greg had bad representation - 1st by Jim Blackburn who was a prominent attorney at the time and had a breakdown where he took his client's money, including Greg's. They were at trial stage when Blackburn was busted. Now Greg had to get a new lawyer who didn't represent his side of the case at all. Telling Greg that the evidence was so circumstantial that no jury would think it was beyond a reasonable doubt. Well that approach certainly backfired.
    Greg was a college graduate with a good computer job. His wife worked at IBM, he had a 12 yo daughter and a nice middle class house in Cary. This man would not hurt anyone.
    When the wrong person is convicted everyone looses, including our society. A productive person is taken out and victimized, and a murderer roams free.

  • beachboater Sep 4, 2009

    The thought of any person in prison that is actually innocent is very scary.

  • Drakula_I_G Sep 4, 2009

    Don't jump to any conclusions - wait for any hard evidence to show up that prove the guy didn't do it.
    The 'confession' may be real or might be fake - any corrections official will tell you that inmates confess (with heartfelt acting) to stuff they didn't do all the time - either due to mental problems or just wanting attention. The same way they eat soap to just get a nice ride to the hospital/a little outing.