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Inmate's family wants his release

Posted September 29, 2009

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— A Cary man's fight to be freed from prison took to the streets of downtown Raleigh Tuesday morning with family and to the streets of downtown Raleigh Tuesday morning with family and friends speaking out in support of him.

Greg Taylor was convicted in 1993 of the stabbing and beating death of Jacquetta Thomas, 26, who worked as a prostitute. Police found her body on Blount Street early Sept. 26, 1991.

Wrongly-convicted man supports inmate Inmate's family says he's innocent

Joining Taylor's supporters was Dwayne Dail, a former prison inmate wrongly convicted of raping a 12-year-old Goldsboro girl in 1987.

DNA evidence freed Dail after 18 years in prison. His struggle and his support are giving Taylor's family hope, they said.

Taylor, who has served 16 years in prison for the crime, has maintained his innocence, and the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission unanimously decided earlier this month to send his appeal to a three-judge panel that will review the case and decide whether he is innocence.

“There is an answer to a lot of prayers,” his mother, Martine Strickland, said following the announcement.

The decision came after a day of testimony that included statements from another inmate, Craig H. Taylor, confessed to killing Thomas.

Craig Taylor, who is serving time as a habitual felon and drug dealer, told an investigator that he hit Thomas in the face and beat her to death with a bat. He said he tried to make look as if she were raped but did not rape her.

The two men share a last name, but are not related.

But Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby is not ready to charge Craig Taylor with the crime, saying he is "skeptical” about the claim. Craig Taylor has a history of mental health issues and has also confessed to other homicides that have not been substantiated.

"The only information we have that casts doubt on his guilt is the confession from someone who has a history of confessing things he didn't do," Willoughby said Monday.

Willoughby said his office is still waiting on a full hearing transcript and to look at evidence.

"If there is evidence of (Greg Taylor's) innocence, fine," Willoughby said. "If there is not, we don't think this hoax should be perpetrated on the public."

Family members and supporters, however, are calling for Greg Taylor's immediate release.

"I understand it takes time to look at this information, but we feel that time has passed," his daughter, Kristen Puryear, said.

"Now that the truth has come out, the confession has come out, every day is not only an injustice, it's a crime," Dail said.

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  • Journey985 Sep 29, 2009

    Deathrow - "The number of innocents convicted to prison today is so small, I dare you to find 5 wrongly convicted in the last 6 or 8 years." I agree, but these prisoners being freed as part of this groups efforts were not convicted in the last 6-8 years, these people have spent 15-25 years in jail. How many others that have been in there that long are in there falsely?

  • annieaamrm Sep 29, 2009

    So true Thinkb4uspeak - With the system we have, you are better off pleading to a lesser charge then to try and defend your innocence. (as recommended by your attorney)

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Sep 29, 2009

    First of all, the following is ONLY my opinion.

    If you took all of the people that were wrongly convicted, a LARGE percentage of them probably lived a sketchy life with the law. Many probably had been convicted of something prior. And many probably have commited multiple crimes that were never discovered. My point being that many of these people probably put themselves in jeopardy with the law simply by the life they led. Many probably deserved some jail time for other things they have done that was never discovered.

  • Thinkb4uspeak Sep 29, 2009

    Today, you can't convict most prison cases without hard evidence. The number of innocents convicted to prison today is so small, I dare you to find 5 wrongly convicted in the last 6 or 8 years.deathrowifeelyourpainnot

    I'd agree with you if it weren't for the popularity of such things as the Alford Plea. People are convicted all the time when they agree to plea guilty to lesser offenses to avoid the possibility of being convicted of worse crimes and sentenced to the max. There are PLENTY of people who, at the recommendation of their attorney, will agree that they'd rather do a certain few years then face the possibility of being wrongfully convicted and getting the book thrown at them. Happens all the time. I've known a couple people whom this has happened to personally and have encountered a few when I was a bail bondsman.

  • 2muchdrama4me Sep 29, 2009

    HEY WRAL !!! Change that headline - you are stating it as fact that he's been wrongly convicted - something that has a long, long way to go to be proved.
    foghat4545

    Re-read the headline........it says "Wrongly Convicted Man Supports Inmate's Fight for Freedom"
    If you had read the article it says another man who was wrongly convicted is supporting this guy's freedom.

  • awr117 Sep 29, 2009

    Sad story if he is indeed innocent. 16 years he will never get back and chances are he will now struggle to find a decent paying job and move on with his life.

  • krispixVT Sep 29, 2009

    All the evidence shows that he is not guilty. He has lost the last 16 years of his life, that he will never be able to get back. He should be released immediately.

  • annieaamrm Sep 29, 2009

    It is wrong to even have 1 innocent man in prison. To lose your life for something you didn't do is so so so so very wrong.

  • somey Sep 29, 2009

    Maybe we should ask each inmate if the are innocent. If the say they are, just let them out. Maybe our Lib friends can stand in front of the prison and give each one a hug before they go home.

  • somey Sep 29, 2009

    Very good Jackaroo. These wonderful libs should take these poor souls into there home and help them.

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