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Gregory Taylor enjoys free time with family

Posted February 21, 2010
Updated February 22, 2010

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— A Cary man who spent more than 16 years in prison on a first-degree murder conviction filled his first weekend as a free man with family time.

Gregory Taylor, 47, was convicted in 1993 of the murder of Jacquetta Thomas. A three-judge panel on Wednesday exonerated him of that crime and released him from his life sentence.

"It has been exciting.  It has been amazing really," Taylor said Sunday of his time out of prison.

Gregory Taylor Taylor receives welcome home messages

Taylor set up his own Facebook page this weekend. The social networking Web site allows users to create profiles and participate in online discussions with “friends.”

One of Taylor's first Facebook friends was Thomas' sister, Yolanda Littlejohn.

"I wished her the best in seeking justice for her sister, and if there is anything I can do to help, I will,” Taylor said.

Dwayne Dail, who was wrongfully convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl in Goldsboro, has also reached out to Taylor online. Dail served 18 years in prison before DNA evidence cleared him of the crime in 2007.

Dail posted a message on Taylor's Facebook page that read, "Welcome home, man! I hope your first few days of freedom have been all that you ever dreamed."

Taylor has spent his first few days of freedom with his family. He played ball Sunday with his 23-month-old grandson, Charles.

Christine Mumma, who represented both Taylor and Dail, said the transition back into society isn't easy.

"He (Taylor) will go through a roller coaster. Right now, it is still very surreal for him. The reality hasn't set in,” she said.

Taylor's exoneration was the result of the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, which had recommended his case for judicial review.

The commission, which investigates and evaluates post-conviction claims of factual innocence, is the only agency of its kind in the United States. Taylor’s was the first case referred by the commission to result in a finding of innocence.

If Gov. Bev Perdue grants Taylor a pardon, he can apply for compensation from the state Industrial Commission for $50,000 a year up to a maximum of $750,000.

Mumma said Sunday that Taylor will apply for restitution if and when the pardon is approved.


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  • Reelstr8 Feb 22, 2010

    armynavyseabee, You make some good points. It's all about the elitist in the legal community. Often LEO's will tend to overstate charges hoping something will stick. As I've said on here before, make the the right charges and make them stick. Shamefully however there are overzealous LEO's that discredit the process.

  • WRALcensorsforIslam Feb 22, 2010

    In all this I feel sorry for the cops. How do you go about your job on a day to day basis knowing that your best efforts will frequently be wasted by Assistant DA's offering plea deals and voluntary dismissals for any number of what would be easy convictions on felonies and misdemeanors? Cops arrest some clown on possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia and the DA's office will automatically offer to dismiss the more serious charge for the perp agreeing to plead guilty to the paraphernalia charge. ADA's will voluntarily dismiss weapons charges, reduce felony Breaking and Entering to a misdemeanor, downgrade DUI charges for guilty pleas to lesser crimes constantly. Happens every single day, numerous times each day in the Wake County Court House. Makes me wonder why the cops even bother to make the arrests. Take a day off one day and go to the Court House and watch these clowns in action. It is a crying shame what they're doing.

  • Fed-up29 Feb 22, 2010

    stephanyjoy-it not about how much i should get paid to go but im just ask to be realistic about compensation...unless you have worked in the prison system in NC you would be sadly mistaken to think that prisons are like what you see on tv.....he was adrug addict before going to prison so he wasn't even a productive part of society to begin with and we are about to give him money he would not have probably earned....i fine with compensating those who had a future like Dial but Taylor i believe deserves less than the 50,000......i didnt ask him to pay for those every 6 month teeth cleanings he got or the room/board, clothing and all the other esentials like healthcar ehe would have had to pay while on the outside...that would have been cruel :)

  • WRALcensorsforIslam Feb 22, 2010

    The sad thing in this is that the taxpayers are on the hook for the compensation due this man. Given the dishonesty of the SBI and the Wake County District Attorney's Office (I am referring to the false allegation that there was blood on Taylor's vehicle bumper) there are two criminals here who have gotten away with crimes. The first is the actual murderer and the second is the prosecuting attorney. It is unfortunate that no one in the DA's office will ever be held liable for their malfeasance. That Mr Willoughby sat there throughout this hearing while his Assistant DA made a complete fool of himself and demonstrated that the public was cheated is outrageous. We were cheated into believing that the DA's office had actual evidence indicating this man was guilty, into believing a murderer was behind bars, into believing the DA's office wasn't staffed by lawyers too incompetent to get a job with a firm or manage their own practice. Too bad folks, that who works in the DA's office.

  • DandyJenn Feb 22, 2010

    "Thank you DeathRow-I feelYourPain-NOT. I do think you are one of the few that gets it. And Voice of Reason23 - If it were not for God intervening in the situation Greg Taylor probably would be dead from the use of drugs by now. And yes, the omnipotent God that helped Greg in those years he spent behind those bars were not in vain - it was in those years He rid his system from the urge of drugs."


  • scarletindurham Feb 22, 2010

    Fed up29... tell me, how much money would someone have to pay you to go to jail for 17 years?

  • Fed-up29 Feb 22, 2010

    im all for restitution but highly doubt this man would have ever made $50,000 a year if he was never in prison. His previous job before hw was jailed was not even professional....they should compensate him based off of inflation and the job he had before he went to jail.

  • csplantlover Feb 22, 2010

    Personally I am glad this man is out of prison so that we dont have to support him any longer, other than giving him the thousands and thousands of dollars because of an inept justice system. We are punished for that. Other than that, I could care less what he does now with his life. It's his to worry about. I have enough to deal with.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Feb 22, 2010

    I don't mind having an Independent Innocence Commission that fights for the rights of prisoners. But for every dollar spent on this commission to free someone, the same dollars should be spent to find the real killer in each of these cases. For every dollar spent to find someone to free, the same dollars should be spent to find someone to convict in unsolved crimes. It works both ways.

  • liskm Feb 22, 2010

    The NC Innocence Inquiry Commission is the FIRST if its kind in the US. Taylor's case was its FIRST.
    (Attributing it to "historical" degree of media coverage). IMO.
    Other states are looking at this as a model to adopt/develop for themselves. That is a GOOD thing. I for one am glad it started in NC.
    If you are tired of the headline, move on and don't read the article. Just don't selfishly wish the good that came from this to go away because you are bored with it.
    Fortunately Mr. Taylor seems to have a strong family network to help him transition. I wish him the best of luck.