Police want new DNA testing in Greg Taylor case
Posted March 16, 2010
Updated September 11, 2010
Raleigh, N.C. — A lawyer for a man exonerated of a woman's murder in a groundbreaking innocence hearing says police now want to test the clothing her client was wearing for the victim's DNA.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Raleigh police, Christine Mumma, executive director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, reluctantly granted permission to test the clothing Gregory Taylor was wearing when Jacquetta Thomas was slain in September 1991.
"I don't understand what their explanation could be except for their own doubts about his innocence,” Mumma said Tuesday.
Mumma said police plan to test for any of the victim's skin cells on clothes worn by Taylor and Johnny Beck, a friend who was held in Thomas' death for about two years until prosecutors dropped charges.
Mumma said Taylor couldn't be tried again, regardless of the test results, because of the legal principle of double jeopardy, but Beck could be tried. Mumma said she has talked with Beck and he also wants his named cleared.
Before 47-year-old Taylor was released from a life sentence last month, he said he repeatedly asked for the same kind of testing from prison to prove his innocence. His request was denied, however.
"They had plenty of time to test it over the 17 years that I begged them,” Taylor said Tuesday.
Taylor says he wants any doubt about his role in Thomas' slaying removed.
"If they want to test it, test it. I just want it over," he said.
A Raleigh police spokesman declined to comment, but Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said he was fine with Taylor getting back his belongings.
A special three-judge panel found Taylor innocent of the murder of Thomas, whose beaten body was found at the end of a Raleigh cul-de-sac. Taylor was arrested when he went to retrieve his Nissan Pathfinder from woods where it was stuck nearby.
He served more than 16 years in prison before the panel vacated his sentence.
His was the first exoneration resulting from the involvement of the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, the only state-run agency in the country dedicated to investigating claims of innocence.