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Family, falsely accused honor slain Raleigh woman

Posted September 19, 2010

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— Family of a slain Raleigh woman and the man falsely imprisoned for her murder held an interfaith vigil Sunday at the site where her body was found 19 years ago.

The vigil was held Sunday afternoon on a cul-de-sac at the end of South Blount Street. The body of Jacquetta LaShawn Thomas, 26, was found there on Sept. 26, 1991. She had been beaten to death.

Thomas' daughter, Sierra Pharr, was 5 years old when her mother was killed.

“That’s what makes this such a tragedy because I didn't get to know her, and the first time I actually seen a picture of her was when it was actually posted on the news,” Pharr said Sunday at the vigil.

Thomas' sister, Yolanda Littlejohn said holding the vigil wasn't easy, but she believes it was necessary so people remain aware of her sister’s death.

Greg Taylor, who spent nearly 17 years in prison after being convicted of Thomas' murder, also attended the vigil. Littlejohn has long supported Taylor's exoneration and testified to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission that she believed that Taylor didn’t kill her sister.

“In my mind there was no way Greg Taylor did this to my sister,” Littlejohn said Sunday.

Taylor was arrested near the site of the vigil. On the day Thomas' body was found, he went to the area to retrieve his SUV, which was stuck in nearby woods.

Over the years, he maintained his innocence but exhausted all avenues for appeal. The Innocence Commission, though, found new evidence – including a revelation that a State Bureau of Investigation agent failed to report that a test for blood on Taylor's SUV was negative. A three-judge panel vacated his sentence in February, citing clear and convincing evidence that he was innocent.

Littlejohn said she and Taylor have since become close friends and she spoke of him at the vigil.

“I know it was tragic what happened to you, and you know that my heart went out to your family. But know that my family is still hurting because we don't know,” Littlejohn said.

Raleigh police have reopened the investigation into Thomas' slaying.

The vigil was organized by Raleigh-based Vigils Against Violence, along with Vigils for Healing, a Winston-Salem-based interfaith ministry that supports the loved ones of homicide victims.

14 Comments

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  • working for deadbeats Sep 20, 2010

    His truck was at the scene...weird.

  • working for deadbeats Sep 20, 2010

    I think it's nice that the killer and his victims family can get together like this.

  • UPTOP Sep 20, 2010

    That's 17 years the real killer has been free !!

  • wildcat Sep 20, 2010

    Maybe in time, the officials will get this killer. He is still walking the streets freely and needs to be locked. If he is talking, people needs to pay attention and report this man immediately.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Sep 20, 2010

    Ambygirl: "Death Row-- you better hope and pray you are never in a situation where you are wrongly accused and have to suffer wha Greg Taylor suffered."

    Won't happen. I haven't, and don't, put myself in the bad/criminal situations that Greg put himself into. He was involved in committing a felony when he was accused. There were very good reasons to accuse him. If you associate with bad people and places, bad things are MUCH more likely to happen to you.

  • Ambygirl Sep 20, 2010

    Death Row-- you better hope and pray you are never in a situation where you are wrongly accused and have to suffer wha Greg Taylor suffered. Maybe noone will believe you either even though the evidence will prove otherwise. So nice to know you are such a judge and jury over all......

  • prophetdavis08 Sep 20, 2010

    I knew her, we were best friends in high school, I pray that justice will be done.

  • mikeyboy262002 Sep 20, 2010

    If the family accepts it, who are we, who know nothing about it, to judge I guess it's the "Judge not lest we be judge" unless it's about something that affects anyone but me , that I know nothing about, only what news reports

  • hazeyc Sep 20, 2010

    Greg Taylor was personally invited by Yolanda Littlejohn the victim's sister. It was appropriate that he was there as he supports the family in their fight to find out who the real murderer is. As we all do.

  • redapace Sep 20, 2010

    "The only people doubting his innocence are ignorant people."

    DeathRow is one of Colon Willoughby's alter egos. He is still suffering from his own loss.

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