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Preliminary hearing held before Innocence Commission

Posted January 15, 2010
Updated February 8, 2010

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— The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission held a preliminary hearing Friday in the case of Greg Taylor, a Cary man convicted in the 1991 stabbing and beating death of Jacquetta Thomas.

The case goes before the three-judge panel on Feb. 9, and is expected to last three days.

Gregory Taylor Preliminary hearing held before Innocence Commission

The commission is a state agency that investigates and evaluates post-conviction claims of factual innocence. It only examines new evidence that was not considered at trial.

In September, the commission unanimously decided to refer his case to the panel for a hearing – not a trial – 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, 26, in the face and beat her to death with a bat.

Greg Taylor, who is not related to Craig Taylor, has served 16 years in prison for the crime, and has maintained his innocence. His conviction was based on circumstantial evidence. DNA testing wasn't available at the time. Evidence has since been tested and the results have been inconclusive.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby on Friday called Craig Taylor "a flawed witness" because he has confessed to more than 70 homicides that have been false.

"I think the theory (Greg Taylor's attorneys) are going on is if they could retry this case today and get certain evidence admitted that may be questionable, maybe there would be come reasonable doubt about this person's guilt," Willoughby said. "But that is not the test. The test is: Is this person innocent?"

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

"My dad is not a murderer. There is no doubt ever in my mind," Greg Taylor's daughter, Kristen Puryear said Friday. "He is the nicest, most genuine person. There is not a violent bone in his body. He did not do this."


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  • didisaythat Jan 15, 2010

    Froggy what do you know that you could enlighten us. I find this interesting. The only thing I know is that a jury found him guilty, another inmate says he did it not the one found guilty and the DA said the same inmate has made claims of 70 murders that have not been substantiated. You can see how no many could make a good case either way.
    I do like how it appears most want to believe this guy is innocent. I wonder why. Of course the family wants him released, even before the panel makes a decision, but why people that don't know him. Do people realy believe there are that many prisoners that have been found guilty that really are innocent. I know it can happen, but I am skeptical about it being many.

  • are you kidding me Jan 15, 2010

    Unless compelling evidence says he did not do it, he stays in!

  • Panther Jan 15, 2010

    "Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby, who will prosecute the case, has said he is "skeptical" about the claim and noted in a court filing that Craig Taylor has confessed to more than 70 homicides that have been "neither reliable nor credible as demonstrated by the facts"

    Sorry folks I have to go with the DA on this one. Sounds like someone is trying to take advanage of the system and Craig Talyor fairy tales.

  • cowboyinfv Jan 15, 2010

    If he is innocent, I wish him speedy justice, and I hope he and his family never have to travel another painful road like is again.

  • Eduardo1 Jan 15, 2010

    How much are they going to pay him, if he is found to be INNOCENT!
    Lets see: Punitive & compensatory for FALSE imprisonment should be worth at least $1,000,000 tax FREE!

  • jrfergerson Jan 15, 2010

    No one likes to admit they were wrong about anything therefore would it not be better is another law office re-examine the evidence.

  • itsmyownopinion Jan 15, 2010

    I'm hoping for the right outcome. I knew nothing about this case until recently, so I'm not sure, but if he's innocent and has served all this time and may remain in prison, it's just a terrible injustice.

  • froggytroat Jan 15, 2010

    I do, and he totally got the shaft at his trial.

  • skidkid269 Jan 15, 2010

    Only if he is truly innocent. I personally don't know enough to make an informed decision.

  • froggytroat Jan 15, 2010

    They really need to let him out.