TayLor

Man walks free after serving two decades on wrongful conviction – Daniel Taylor


CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) – Jul 23, 2013

A man is beginning his redemption Monday after serving two decades behind bars on a wrongful conviction.

Daniel Taylor endured 20 years of time in a prison cell knowing he didn’t commit the crime that got him there. He was a teenager when he went into the big house, but now, he’s a free 37-year-old who will move to a place he can really call home.

“Well, it feels like I’m finally getting established and stepping out on my own and finally getting a chance to get re-acclimated with society,” Taylor says. “It’s very bittersweet, but I’ll accept this over my alternative, which is an 8 by 2 cuz those are not 8 by 9 cells.”

Taylor spent just over 20 years in that 8-by-2 cell at the Menard Correctional Center. He was 17 years old when he was arrested and charged with double murder at a North Side apartment complex.

Taylor had an alibi when the murders were committed: he was already in jail for disorderly conduct and being held at another police station. That took a backseat in the investigation when Taylor confessed to the crime.

“I have never heard anyone who had the alibi that I had,” Taylor explains. “You have people who was at a football game—with their girlfriend making love but how many people have said I was actually in your custody and they went and got certain documents from their own police station. I was beaten and tricked.”

Taylor contacted the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwest University, shared his story and six years later, he had another court date.

“He was in custody at the time when the murders were committed. I had to take that case. He had no parents or lawyer with him when he was dealing with the police. people don’t realize that you can admit to something that you didn’t do.”

Now, Daniel and his brother are trying to do what’s right.

David was 16 years old when Chicago police arrested him in the middle of the night. It’s a night his brother David says he’ll never forget. He missed his big brother so much that he committed crimes to get arrested with hopes of getting assigned to the same jail cell as Daniel.

“By him being by my side and letting me know everything was going to be alright…and then, when that was taken away from me, it was like woah,” David says.

Both brothers want to keep at-risk kids out of trouble and out of jail.

“You need to really sit down and talk to your parents because when it’s all said and done, your parents are going to be the only ones you have if you end up in prison,” Daniel says.

While in prison, Daniel Taylor earned his GED and says he read the dictionary from cover to cover. He has now been free for six months, living in the two-bedroom apartment. Many people are rooting for him and a number of people are trying to help him find a job.

Daniel Taylor’s 20-year wrongful prison term


A Chicago man who spent 20 years in prison is freed after a new investigation reveals he had an alibi. Daniel Taylor was in police custody at the time and Saturday night he spoke out.

Taylor was 17 years old when he says police coerced him into confessing.

Taylor’s exoneration is the 90th in Cook County since 1989. He is the 34th known to have been wrongfully convicted based on a unreliable confession.

 

Taylor’s fight for freedom began with a letter from prison to the Chicago Tribune. Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions then took up his case.

Taylor returned home early this morning

“To get up and use the washroom when I want to, to make a meal when I want to, to go outside and take in the fresh air when I want to,” Taylor said.

Freedom. Something most of us take for granted. Daniel Taylor never will.

The 38-year-old is home after spending 20 years in prison for a 1992 double murder in Uptown. Charges were dropped after Cook County prosecutors interviewed more witnesses and reviewed more documents. But, there is only one document that Taylor and his lawyers say should have cleared him from the beginning.

“I never thought I would need the paper work, the copy they gave you when you leave,” he said.

Taylor is talking about jail records that prove he was in police custody being held on a disorderly conduct charge at the time of the double murder. Despite that, Taylor was charged with several others.

“The level of trickery that they used at the police station with a 17-year-old with a 2nd grade education was beyond me at the time,” he said.

Trickery that Taylor says included being handcuffed to a wall, beaten and coerced into signing a confession.

“I think that maybe the jury couldn’t get passed the fact that he confessed even though there was this evidence he was in custody the whole time,” said Judy Royal, Center on Wrongful Convictions.

After being sentenced to life without parole, Taylor had given up hope. He tried taking his life in prison. TayLor decided to fight for his freedom after getting some advice from a cell mate.

“The only way to get it done is to get it started,” he said.

So the fight began with legal help from Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions. Taylor’s hard work and patience finally paid off after two decades behind bars.

“My thing is to move forward,” he said.

Taylor says he is giving himself a three-week grace period to get used to freedom. After that, he says it’s time to work on his future.

Taylor earned his GED in prison and he would like to go to college. His goal is to work with at risk youth, kids similar to him before he went to prison.