Prosecutor wants proof of innocence in Taylor case

Greg Taylor

January 4, 2010 4:50:39 PM PST
Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby filed a motion Monday to strike Greg Taylor's plea for a declaration of innocence. He also asked a court to order Taylor to provide clear and convincing evidence of his innocence.

Click here to read the filing (.pdf)

The move was a response to the North Carolina Innocence Commission's review of the Taylor case. Taylor was convicted in 1991 of murdering a prostitute and leaving her battered body in Southeast Raleigh. He's been in jail ever since.

Last year, the Innocence Commission found that there was enough evidence to have the case reviewed on the basis of a confession of another man who said he killed Jacquetta Thomas.

But Willoughby says there are serious problems with Craig Taylor's (no relation) confession. In his filing Monday, he said the commission staff presented an edited version of the confession, and questioned whether it could be found credible.

Willoughby says Craig Taylor has a long history of physical and mental health problems and that he's confessed to more than 70 murders. In one of those cases, he was in jail at the time and couldn't have committed the crime.

"The only new evidence we've seen so far is Craig Taylor's confession. And we want to know, 'Are you relying, is this the evidence that proves his innocence?'" he told ABC11 Monday.

Willoughby says the Innocence Commission can only review new evidence that might prove Taylor's innocence. But, he says defense lawyers have tried to re-litigate issues that were already decided by the trial court and in subsequent appeals.

"They're contesting whether or not there was blood on his vehicle when he's admitted that he probably drove through the blood," said Willoughby.

But Greg Taylor says Craig Taylor's confession helps prove that it was coincidence that his car got stuck in a muddy field in south Raleigh where Thomas' body was found.

The issue is now before a three judge panel for its review. Taylor has been in jail for 16 years.

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