State News

DNA clears man who spent 14 years in prison

Posted September 2, 2009

— A North Carolina man who spent 14 years in prison on charges that he raped two teenage girls has been set free after DNA evidence determined he was not the attacker.

Multiple media outlets reported that Joseph Lamont Abbitt walked out of the Forsyth County Jail on Wednesday afternoon after a judge vacated his conviction.

Abbitt was convicted in 1995 of two counts of first-degree rape, among other charges, in connection with the 1991 sexual assaults of a 16-year-old girl and her 13-year-old sister. He said outside of jail that he hoped DNA would reveal the real perpetrator.

Abbitt said he does not blame the girls for what happened and prays for them every day.

The Innocence Commission, which heard Abbitt's case, will take up a Raleigh case on Thursday.

Greg Taylor was convicted of killing a woman in 1991, but he has maintained that he didn't beat and stab Jacquetta Thomas.


Watch the commission hearing LIVE on WRAL.com, beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday.

55 Comments

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  • lorivalentine1 Sep 3, 2009

    ummm... ok so he was innocent of this crime and I do have some sympathy for his for losing 14 years of his life.. HOWEVER, based on his history.. those 14 years behind bars may have pevented some other horrendous crimes as he is not the upstanding member of society WRAL would have us believe!..

  • Coach K is still GREAT Sep 3, 2009

    I hope that Joseph Lamont Abbitt can be given his reputation back.

    As is said, I'd rather see a thousand criminals go free so that Mr. Abbitt didn't have to spend ONE DAY in jail!
    MakoII
    GOLO member since August 21, 2009
    September 3, 2009 6:43 p.m.
    Ignore Report abuse

    Reputation of what, being a rapist previously?

  • MakoII Sep 3, 2009

    I hope that Joseph Lamont Abbitt can be given his reputation back.

    As is said, I'd rather see a thousand criminals go free so that Mr. Abbitt didn't have to spend ONE DAY in jail!

  • Coach K is still GREAT Sep 3, 2009

    He had my check for 14 years, now it's time for him to go out and earn his own.

  • Professor Sep 3, 2009

    Coach K is still GREAT

    Be a good sport and send this man a nice check from you. lol

  • Professor Sep 3, 2009

    No matter, this man will be paid for all the years he spent in prison for a crime he did not do.

  • Professor Sep 3, 2009

    anything but chickflicks

  • Professor Sep 3, 2009

    So you suggest we pay him off so he won't do this a 2nd time???
    Coach K is still GREAT

    OK smarty! He is free so we on board don't need to hear anything else from you. :)

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Sep 3, 2009

    How would you feel if you were convicted for a crime you did not do and yet spent all that time in prison. You are all chat.
    Professor

    Thanks "Professor" since you know me. Again, if I did commit 2 other crimes against ANYONE, and got off scott-free, I would feel it was karma coming back to hit me in the behind.

  • Professor Sep 3, 2009

    I couldn't imagine having 14 years stripped away from my life like that. Compensation is great but that time will never be recovered. This is exactly why the death penalty can't go on. I am sure innocent people have been executed due to mistakes and flaws in our justice system.
    jgilchr

    Worthy repeating! Thanks for the comment. You are absolutely right!

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