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Wake DA responds to Innocence Commission

Posted October 13, 2009
Updated November 24, 2009

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— Wake County's district attorney is responding to the findings of the state Innocence Inquiry Commission in the case of a Cary man convicted of killing a prostitute 18 years ago.

"The evidence in this case fails to show by clear and convincing evidence that Greg Taylor is innocent of the murder of Jacquetta Thomas," Colon Willoughby said Tuesday.

Wake DA to respond to Innocence Commission Evidence points to prisoner's guilt, DA says

Greg Taylor was convicted in 1993 of the stabbing and beating death of Jacquetta Thomas, 26, whose body was found on Blount Street early Sept. 26, 1991.

Taylor, who has served 16 years in prison for the crime, has maintained his innocence, and the state commission unanimously decided last month to send his appeal to a three-judge panel that will review the case and decide whether he is innocent.

The decision came after testimony that included statements from another inmate, Craig H. Taylor, who 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 it look as if she were raped but did not rape her.

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

"This case was a rush to judgment from the defense side seeking to disprove someone's conviction," Willoughby said. "I think there was an orchestrated public campaign to try and pressure our office into releasing Greg Taylor without looking at the evidence."

Willoughby has said he is "skeptical" about the claim and in a court filing Tuesday, said that Craig Taylor has confessed to more than 70 homicides that have been "neither reliable nor credible as demonstrated by the facts."

"He is both physically sick and mentally ill, and I think he was exploited," Willoughby said. "He was supplied information about the crime before he confessed."

The response comes after the district attorney's office spent six weeks reviewing evidence in the case, as well as a full transcript of the Innocence Commission hearing.

"There may be some evidence somewhere that Greg Taylor did not commit this crime, but it was not in the evidence presented to the Innocence Commission," Willoughby said. "They were presented with false confessions and inconclusive evidence about DNA."

Greg Taylor's family and supporters, meanwhile, have called for his immediate release.

His brother, Eddie Taylor, said Tuesday that the district attorney's findings don't sway his family's belief that their family member is innocent.

"From what I've seen in the response, it doesn't change the fact that Greg is innocent," Eddie Taylor said. "We've thought that for 16 1/2 years."

Thomas' sister, Yolanda Littlejohn, testified before the Innocence Commission that she thought Greg Taylor was innocent. She said Tuesday that she was disappointed by prosecutors' response.

"The evidence doesn't point to him," she said. "It may not point to Craig Taylor, but it doesn't point to Greg Taylor."

Innocence Commission officials have said that the only other case they sent to a three-judge panel took nine months before there was a resolution.

Officials noted there is no determination how long it will take for Greg Taylor's case and a date has not been set.

The panel will include Judge Howard Manning, a Superior Court judge based in Wake County, as well as Tonya Wallace, a Superior Court judge in Rockingham County, and Calvin Murphy, a judge in Mecklenburg County.

34 Comments

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  • jacalynt Oct 14, 2009

    KevinUNC97 and others: Yes you SHOULD examine the facts of this case. Have you? I don't think so. If you had studied the facts of the case you would not say that he had a prior criminal record, because Greg does not have one. You would also see that the DA has absolutely NO substantiated evidence to support the original conviction of Greg. It does not even occur to Mr. Willoughby that his office might have made a mistake and that Greg is innocent. He is just working to defend the original mistake instead of seeking to find the truth. And that truth is that the wrong man is sitting in prison for this crime.

  • NCAries Oct 14, 2009

    And WHAT IF this is the one truth after the 68 lies...does the innocent man still not get to go free because noone trusts the messenger?

  • r u crazy too Oct 14, 2009

    Why would the Innocence Commission believe a jailbird who is obviously lying? Why does the victims sister believe this guy is innocent? And what evidence ties Taylor to the crime?
    I can't believe that a convict's "confession" is the only reason for the Innocence Commission report, especially a convict who has confessed to crimes committed while he was in jail watching reality crime shows.

  • didisaythat Oct 14, 2009

    Why does everyone believe another criminal, the family of the criminal and not one thing a DA has to say....This is unbelievable. Did you not hear that the other person has admitted to 70.....70 murders and they have shown he was in prison during some of those...but he is telling the truth and you can't believe one thing a DA says....I don't know what is wrong with the Judicial System. Are there that many criminals out there that no one wants to find people guilty anymore...

  • KevinUNC97 Oct 14, 2009

    Wow...DA makes perfectly logical statement regarding the obvious guilt of this person, and it is not a headline? People really need to study the facts of this case, and realize that the right man is sitting in prison. He has been denied multiple appeals for a reason. His car was abandoned near the scene of the crime for a reason. He has prior criminal record. I wish that resources could be focused on getting truly-innocent people out of jail; instead of wasting gov't time and money on this guy.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Oct 14, 2009

    The number of posts on these articles seems to jump considerably, and take a strong liberal slant, around 10:30am to 11:00am each day. My guess is that's about the time most college students begin rolling out of bed.

  • mrduright Oct 14, 2009

    "The two men share a last name but are not related"

    that funny

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Oct 14, 2009

    RaceCard Balker, foghat4545, and howdiditgettothis, thanks for bringing some logic and common sense to this discussion.

  • iron fist Oct 14, 2009

    The DA will not admit any wrong doing. If this man is not guilty the DA should be man enough to admit the mistake and release him today.

  • howdiditgettothis Oct 13, 2009

    IF (and a big IF) he is NOT guilty, then it stinks for him that he was wrongly accused. As the article stated, the guy who "confessed" has confessed (with inaccurate information) to way more crimes, in addition to this one.

    My problem with this whole situation is the government being sued and basically paying punitive damages for wrongful jailing.

    If you want to sue someone, sue the lawyers or the jury who convicted you.

    If you do sue, then pay back the government the cost of your board, meals, healthcare, etc. for the years you were incarcerated.

    This is the justice process in the US. If you don't like it, may try heading to Asia, Mexico or someplace else where justice is a lot more swift than here.

    Bad things do happen to good people, but honestly - if you hang out with criminals -- then what do you expect?

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