State News

DNA clears man who spent 14 years in prison

Posted September 2, 2009 4:34 p.m. EDT
Updated September 2, 2009 6:04 p.m. EDT

— 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.