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In first year of freedom, Taylor savors holiday with family

Posted November 25, 2010

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— Most Americans take it for granted that Thanksgiving is a day to spend with family and friends. For some, that company can even bring a bit of stress.

But for Greg Taylor, who was imprisoned for almost 17 years but exonerated earlier this year, the holiday takes on a whole new meaning.

"For so many years I missed my family, and dreaded the holidays because of that. It's kind of different to be looking forward to them," Taylor said Thursday.

Taylor was convicted in 1993 of stabbing and beating Jacquetta Thomas, of Cary.

The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission found in February that there was clear and convincing evidence that proved Taylor is innocent, making him the first person in North Carolina's history to be freed because of the Innocence Commission's involvement.

Since that time, Taylor has spent most of his time getting to know the family he nearly lost.

Thursday was his first Thanksgiving with them.

"I haven't spent a Thanksgiving with my father in 15, 18 years," said Kristen Puryear. "I don't remember the last one, but he's been missed, definitely." 

Greg Taylor Greg Taylor finds new meaning in 'Thanksgiving'

Puryear was nine when her father went to prison. She is married and has a two-year-old son.

"I'm real proud of her and happy for the way she's grown up, but there's a part of me that's always going to be sad because I missed all of that," Taylor said.

He said he has found new meaning in this holiday.

"Every day since I have been out has been a real thanksgiving. If this is the celebration, the symbol of all that, yes, this would have to be the best Thanksgiving, absolutely," he said.

18 Comments

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  • cubed32696 Nov 26, 2010

    Life-goes-on. Blah, blah blah.

    Who is a bitter here? This the first year that my son has NOT spent Thanksgiving with his dad since he was seven. He is now 24. The reason? He is at Navy boot camp. My son ALWAYS spent Thanksgiving with his dad. As long as my son woke up at home Christmas morning, he could spend my birthday, Mother’s Day, any other day with his dad. I sacrificed everything for that morning.

  • jjwood2424 Nov 26, 2010

    I am happy for you Greg!! I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving with your family and hope you see many more to come!!! 4 the people who are up here bashing this man you need to get a life and stop reading the news and Golo if you're so tired of seeing him up here. Who are you to judge? You're life is all messed up and you hate to see others happy for a change. Oh well to bad!!

  • COPs eye Nov 26, 2010

    In 1993 he was hanging out on Bragg St instead of being with his family that is so important to him now. I guess family wasn't a big priority then. If he's innocent...he'd paid his dues. That's if.WHO AM I NOW

    I hope you have as much contempt for our elected judicial officials as you do for Greg Taylor. Maybe then you can organize a group of righteous individuals like yourself to condemn innocent people after they have been exonerated. I know strange this coming from a LEO, but hey he was proven not guilty, it was faulty investigating that convicted him and poor prosecution.

  • pbjbeach Nov 26, 2010

    In my own personal opinion regardless what or how much compensation that the state of north carolina was forced to pay him it will never ever be enough for what i think that he has probably been put thru along with all of the absent holidays that he missed spending with his family . thatis what in my opinion holidays are all about anyway is spending them with family thank you

  • notagain1903 Nov 26, 2010

    If he's innocent...he'd paid his dues. That's if.
    Who am I now

    WHAT??????

  • itsmyownopinion Nov 25, 2010

    Congratulations Greg and family. I'm happy to see a feel good story on a day we all need to be thankful for so much -- even in the hard times. To the cynics here, give your negative comments a rest already. When I see you, I always say, "NOT AGAIN!!!"

  • eccgc Nov 25, 2010

    To "Who Am I Now" -- I understand why you have such a handle.

  • eccgc Nov 25, 2010

    Why not! It's news worthy! Too bad you can't rejoice with him as so many do!

  • eccgc Nov 25, 2010

    Geez. Are you kidding me? WRAL is beating a dead horse again. I mean REALLY? Enought is enough with this guy. What next, first Christmas, Birthday, etc.

    Why not! It's news worthy! Too bad you can't rejoice with him as so many do!

  • eccgc Nov 25, 2010

    This guy again? Holy cow...enough is enough already. Nothing ever said he was actually innocent, so I'm not sure exactly what you people are so happy about. He got off on a technicality. OJ Simpson was also found not guilty.....

    Why don't you give the guy a break and stop JUDGING! The way you judge, you will be judged!

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