Greg Taylor speaks about turning points
Posted September 11, 2010 11:56 p.m. EDT
Updated September 12, 2010 8:55 a.m. EDT
Carrboro, N.C. — Greg Taylor, who was exonerated of a woman's murder in a groundbreaking innocence hearing in February, was the featured speaker Saturday evening at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro.
A special three-judge panel found 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.
“Freedom’s great, you know, but I think I just forgot what freedom was,” Taylor told the crowd. “I was scared I was going to miss her (Taylor's daughter) falling in love. Her getting married and I was going to miss the chance to walk her down the aisle."
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.
In May, 47-year-old Taylor received a full pardon from Gov. Beverly Perdue.
Taylor's ArtsCenter appearance was part of The Monti series, which invites people to tell true stories in front of a live audience. The theme of Saturday evening was turning points. Taylor said his turning point was the day he was released from prison.
“You fight for something for so long and so hard that eventually you forget what that something is," he said.
Within the last month, Taylor said he has found his own place to live and is continuing his adjustment back to society.
“I’m scared now, but I can handle it, especially if it means not having to miss another day in the life of my daughter and my loved ones,” Taylor said.