Taylor sues 5 former SBI agents


Click here to read the lawsuit (.pdf)

The lawsuit alleges that Taylor was convicted of murder in 1991 based on a "deliberately misleading SBI report."

Named as defendants are agents Peter Duane Deaver, Joseph S. Taub, Mark Nelson, Ralph Keaton, and Harold Elliot.

Taylor spent 17 years in prison for the murder of Jacquetta Thomas, but a three-judge panel found him innocent and released him from jail last year.

Taylor had exhausted his appeals, but the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission reviewed the evidence against him and recommended the case to the three-judge panel for further review. During several days of testimony, a parade of witnesses poked holes in the original evidence against Taylor.

An SBI agent testified that while initial tests on some items from Taylor's sport utility vehicle were positive for blood, follow-up tests were negative. Those negative tests were not revealed to the jury that convicted Taylor.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges agents Deaver and Taub prepared that report.

The lawsuit asks for damages "in an amount to be determined at trial" plus court costs.

The Taylor case has been a black eye for the SBI and allegations of mishandled evidence led Attorney General Roy Cooper to replace the bureau director and the director of the SBI's crime lab last fall.

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