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Police want new DNA testing in Greg Taylor case

Posted March 16, 2010
Updated September 11, 2010

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— 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.

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  • FE Mar 17, 2010

    wkph - It is frequent that people on these boards stick their collective heads in the sand and state no one is "guilty" until a jury of 12 says so. GOLO discussion boards are NOT a seated jury in a courtroom.

    As for my watching too much Law & Order/Court TV, without going further let's just say I've probably spent far more time in criminal courtrooms than I ever have watching such TV shows.

    In a phrase that I guess should be familiar, you are perhaps "assuming facts not introduced into evidence" about my observations.

    And, of course, you ARE wrong: Hennis WAS tried and he WAS found guilty, so your own "facts" are just not quite correct.

    FE

  • wkph Mar 17, 2010

    I have served on enough juries to know that most people think because a defendent has been charged, he must be guilty. Mr. Taylor was railroaded 17 years ago, therefore, I would not trust the police to test his clothes.
    Myra....As far as the Hennis trial, you seem to assume he is guilty because of DNA. He did admit he was there to buy a puppy. There is much DNA that cannot be identified. He was tried and found not guilty. I don't think the government should be allowed to try him again. The crime was horrendous but what about the rights of Hennis? Should they be allowed to try him until he is found guilty? That is not the way the US justice is supposed to work. They had their chance and the jury did not find him guilty.
    FE - As far as finding someone guilty or innocent, you are watching too much Law and Order or Court TV. The justice system says you can find a defendent guilty or not guilty. As far as speculating how guilty or not guilty a defendent is, well, that is just speculation.

  • FE Mar 17, 2010

    Moon - I will agree that "wrongfully convicted" is probably appropriate for the Taylor case.

    It is NOT such a simple statement to say "a crime he obviously didn't commit."

    Rest assured Taylor has NO idea of what he did or did not do at the time of the murder. He was, by his own admission, in the Land of Crack.

    The police now have a crime to solve - not a conviction of Taylor to seek. Whatever evidence they choose to examine may provide clues as to the real killers. If if is someone else, move forward. If the evidence incriminates Taylor, he is still a free man who cannot be retried.

    FE

  • Myra Mar 17, 2010

    How ineffective are the law and order here? DNA evidence not tested in Tim Hennis case for 25 years. Greg Taylor BEGGED them to test his DNA and clothes. So - do they now have samples of Taylor's DNA they can 'plant' on the clothes. Taylor's lawyer should not have given permission; they have no legal right to test clothes now. Prosecutorial misconduct under NC AG Roy T Cooper seems to be rampant; almost pandemic. Don't these DA'a have enough mayhem and murder to investigate and try in court? Here's your sign -------

  • Moonshadow Mar 17, 2010

    OSX, if we are the crackheads, then you are the dealer. Just because he was not the best father/husband does not mean he deserves 17 years in prison for a crime he obviously didn't commit. Your tax dollars were spent on a WRONGFULLY CONVICTED MAN. Now, our tax dollars will be spent on restitution because he was WRONGFULLY CONVICTED. He was robbed of 17 years, and why? Because the POLICE, LAWYERS, AND JUDGE GOT IT WRONG!! I doubt the police, lawyers, or judge were crackheads, but they are THE idiots, and your comment about him not being the best father/husband makes me wonder if you work for the Raleigh Police Department with the rest of the idiots that wrongfully convicted Mr.Taylor. Have another hit off your crack OSX!

  • rescuefan Mar 17, 2010

    "Question for affirmative: So, do you think OJ was "innocent" or just "not guilty" because that was the jury's finding???

    Yes, there IS a difference..........

    FE"

    He won't listen. The more you prove him wrong, the louder he gets and the more CAPS he uses. Then he turns it into name calling. Like I said, I just don't want him serving on a jury if he thinks innocent and not guilty are the same thing legally.

  • tlbone56 Mar 17, 2010

    He's finally a free man, Mr. Taylor, tell them to "kiss your a**!

  • affirmativediversity Mar 17, 2010

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/innocence in·no·cence (n-sns) n. 1. The state, quality, or virtue of being innocent, as: a. Freedom from sin, moral wrong, or guilt through lack of knowledge of evil. b. Guiltlessness of a specific legal crime or offense per rescuefan

    ------------------

    b. Guiltlessness of a specific legal crime or offense

    GUILTLESSNESS...Gosh that sure sounds like another way of saying NOT GUILTY!

  • FE Mar 17, 2010

    Question for affirmative: So, do you think OJ was "innocent" or just "not guilty" because that was the jury's finding???

    Yes, there IS a difference..........

    FE

  • affirmativediversity Mar 17, 2010

    1. A determination by a jury that the evidence is insufficient to convict the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/innocence in·no·cence (n-sns) n. 1. The state, quality, or virtue of being innocent, as: a. Freedom from sin, moral wrong, or guilt through lack of knowledge of evil. b. Guiltlessness of a specific legal crime or offense.

    Two totally different things legally. See it or not, it doesn't matter to me. Except I would NEVER want you serving on a jury if you can't understand the difference per rescuefan

    --------------------
    And where in all that does it say that a verdict of "not guilty" does not mean "innocent"???

    You're butchering the basic premise of our judicial system for the sake of your self inflated ego...INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY...again, this isn't a difficult concept.

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