Pardon delayed for Greg Taylor

May 7, 2010 9:19:24 PM PDT
The governor announced Friday that she needs more evidence before making a decision on whether or not to pardon Greg Taylor.Taylor spent 17 years in prison for the murder of Jacquetta Thomas, but a three judge panel recently found him innocent and released him from jail in February.

The panel heard the case as a result of the work of the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, the only panel of its kind in the country set up to investigate claims of innocence.

Taylor was the first person found innocent through the panel's work.

Taylor says he is frustrated by the way his request for a pardon has been handled. He says he was led to believe it was going to be an easy process --a formality that was going to help him rebuild his life.

Just weeks after being exonerated, Taylor walked into the state clemency office with his application for a governor's pardon.

"When I filed for this pardon, I was led to believe it was a no brain decision that it would not take long at all," he said.

But Friday, several months later, Taylor learned that Governor Bev Purdue is waiting on the results of tests on the clothing worn by Taylor the night that Thomas was killed in September 1991, before issuing the pardon.

"I don't understand why she's calling my innocence into question," he said.

Since his release, Taylor says he has been focused on rebuilding his life and closing this painful chapter.

That's why he says back in March, he asked Raleigh police to return more than two dozen personal items. The department said it wanted to do additional tests first and Taylor agreed. But Taylor says the items weren't immediately sent off.

"I wrote the police and said they had until April 13 to send it off for testing or I was going to request it back," Taylor said.

So they were finally sent for testing, Taylor says, and it wasn't until Friday that he realized the governor was waiting on the results, further delaying his ability to start over.

"I can't do anything other than wait right now," Taylor said. "I mean it's fine for the governor to make sure all the bases are covered, but yet she did nothing to expedite this testing."

He says the testing still won't change the fact that he's innocent.

"Innocent is like a what, fourth grade vocabulary word," Taylor said. "Can't we at least look in the dictionary and take it from there? My life is on hold and I want it back.

If Taylor is pardoned, he could receive a $750,000 payment from the state.

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