More witnesses hammer Taylor evidence

Greg Taylor at the Innocence Commission three-judge hearing on Monday, February 9, 2010.

February 11, 2010 4:09:39 PM PST
Defense attorneys for a man hoping to be the first inmate released from prison in North Carolina through the work of an innocence commission continued hammering at old evidence Thursday, calling experts in blood and DNA analysis and a dog trainer to contradict trial testimony.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, who heads the three-judge panel hearing the case, continued to show his exasperation with the slow pace of the case, at one point saying that by asking his own questions he had "saved 30 minutes of cross-examination."

The hearing for Greg Taylor, 47, of Cary was expected to last up to three days and instead, the prosecution has not begun presenting witnesses in the third day of testimony. Taylor, sentenced to life in 1993 for the murder of a prostitute in Raleigh, has maintained his innocence since he was arrested in 1991. He is out of court appeals, and the judges are hearing the case because the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, a state agency, recommended that it be reviewed.

On Thursday, the judges heard from Megan Clement, an expert in blood and DNA analysis who works for LabCorp. She testified about the lab work of Duane Deaver, an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation who wrote the formal lab report in the Taylor case.

Dog training expert Jonni Joyce testified that the bloodhound that investigators said found the scent of the victim, 26-year-old Jacquetta Thomas, on Taylor's SUV was not trained in scent identification. In addition, Joyce said, the dog should not be believed because she didn't find the scent on Thomas' body, which was stronger than anything that could be in the SUV.

And her signal - jumping on the SUV's windows -- was not the signal the dog used to identify a scent, she said. The dog should have sat at the vehicle. Instead, she sat beside her trainer, a signal that she didn't find a scent.

"There were a lot of things that went wrong in this case," Joyce said.

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