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Governor grants pardon for Greg Taylor

Posted May 21, 2010

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— Gov. Bev Perdue on Friday pardoned a man who was exonerated of a woman's murder in a groundbreaking innocence hearing in February.

A special three-judge panel found Greg Taylor innocent of the murder of Jacquetta Thomas, whose beaten body was found at the end of a Raleigh cul-de-sac in 1991. Taylor was arrested when he went to retrieve his Nissan Pathfinder from some nearby woods, where it was stuck.

He served more than 16 years in prison before the panel vacated his sentence.

A spokeswoman for Perdue said Friday that the governor was waiting for the results of tests on the clothing worn by Taylor the night that Thomas was killed. Taylor agreed in March to let Raleigh police test that clothing, saying he wanted no doubt about his innocence.

Gregory Taylor Governor pardons Greg Taylor

DNA results released Friday showed Taylor was innocent, Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said. Pearson said the governor waited until the DNA results were returned because she did not want any doubt cast when she granted the pardon.

“Gregory Taylor was forced to pay a debt to society for a crime he did not commit. No amount of money can buy back those 17 years, but at least this pardon of innocence will clear his name and make him eligible to receive compensation for his unjust imprisonment,” Perdue said in a statement.

Taylor said he was on his way back from a speaking engagement in Charlotte when he got a call the news from the governor's office. He said he was elated by the news.

"It was a little bit of an emotional moment for me really," Taylor told WRAL News. "I didn't realize, I don't think, even how much this meant to me until she actually granted it."

"I would like to savor the moment for a little while," he said.

After three months of waiting to see if the governor would pardon him, Taylor admitted he was "beginning to worry a bit."

"I'm totally cleared to move on with the rest of my life and it feels good in the moment," he said.

Web only: Gregory Taylor recalls first few days of freedom Full interview: Greg Taylor reacts to pardon

Because of the pardon, Taylor is eligible for $750,000 in compensation for his wrongful imprisonment.

Perdue signed the pardon this afternoon in New Bern.

The Raleigh Police Department issued a statement on Friday saying the DNA tests did not provide any new evidence in the case.

"The department continues its investigation, which is progressing. Currently, two detectives are assigned to the Thomas case on a full-time basis," spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence reluctantly granted permission in March to test the Taylor's clothing Taylor.

Before 47-year-old Taylor was released from a life sentence, he said he repeatedly asked for the same kind of testing from prison to prove his innocence. His request was denied, however.

Taylor 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.

Taylor was already celebrating something special on Friday. It was his daughter's birthday.

"The last time I was free on my daughter's birthday, she turned 9 years old," he said.


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  • meganfauls May 21, 2010

    Firstly, congrats Greg. It must be nice to have the state finally cross the "t" and dot the "i." I cannot tell you how in awe I have been by your honorable behavior through out this whole ordeal--you have been incredible. Finally, the pittance the state wants to offer you for 17 years of your life is a joke. Who amongst us could think back over the last 17 years of our life and believe we would trade it for $750,000? My fervent hope is that you make a run at a substantially larger amount of money, not only to secure your future, but to teach the Justice Department a much needed lesson about seeking justice vs. railroading someone in order to get a case off their blotter.

  • mamananagramps May 21, 2010

    It is about time..Congratulations to Greg Taylor and family.

  • driverkid3 May 21, 2010

    Congrats, Greg. I am so glad this has happened for you. I wish the very best for you for the rest of your life, and hope that you can enjoy it.

  • jeffingarner May 21, 2010

    Today is not only for Greg, but also for former chief justice I. Beverly Lake, Jr., Judge Howard Manning, and most of all Christine Mumma - all great Republicans, the people who truly care about others!

  • jeffingarner May 21, 2010

    Day late and dollar short Gov Bev should have to double the money for her delay tactics. Anyone with a marginal IQ knew Greg was innocent. Oh, now I understand after rereading my post.

  • IzzMad2016 May 21, 2010

    really burp....how much more proof do you or anyone else with doubts need that the man is truly innocent? Bev Bot only delayed giving him a pardon in hopes the state could get out of paying him the $750K (or whatever the amount is) that he rightfully deserves. He sat in jail for YEARS for something he didn't do....he was Nifonged before we even knew what it meant to be Nifonged.

  • pbjbeach May 21, 2010

    Well i am guessing that good old governor dumpling has finally figured out a way to pay this man for the funds due to him for the state costing him 17 years of his life an even at top dollar it still isnt enouugh for no doubt what he has been put through while serving 17 years in prison . in my personal estimation he should be getting at the very least an amount of 17 million dollars an not one cent less budget issues or not thank you

  • amyrn May 21, 2010

    This is so wonderful! Yay! Way to go!

  • NCTravellinman May 21, 2010

    The police requesting more DNA testing is beyond ridiculous. Hey, cops, you lost. Get over it! Move on! At this point, you're making fools of yourself and wasting taxpayer money.

  • the people May 21, 2010

    Charge those who do this,send them up the creek,with the boat,no immunity,no pardon then it will,Stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!