Daniel Taylor says jail records prove he didn't commit a murder

January 31, 2013 4:18:10 PM PST
He has spent almost 20 years in prison for a double murder that he and others say he did not commit.

Now there's a new step in Daniel Taylor's quest for a new trial.

Taylor was a 17-year-old gang member living on the streets when he confessed in detail to a double murder.

In the years since, a witness who fingered Taylor has recanted and a codefendant has said Taylor wasn't there.

Jail records even say he couldn't have been.

A jury saw those records years ago but apparently not in their full detail.

Taylor's lawyers filed a motion today hoping that a new jury will.

Taylor is doing life no parole at Menard Correctional Center.

In 1992 he confessed, as did a number of codefendants, to a double murder in Uptown.

But on the night of those murders, jail records indicate that Taylor was locked up in the Old Town Hall District Station on a disorderly conduct charge.

Karen Daniel of the Center on Wrongful Convictions is one of Taylor's attorneys and she's arguing the obvious.

Taylor was in jail. He wasn't party to the murders.

But that argument with jail records was made at Taylor's trial 17 years ago and he was still convicted.

"The prosecution argued that yes, there's this paperwork, but he confessed," Daniel said. "The confession must be true. Therefore, he must not have been in the lock-up".

It would have meant that the cops running the lock-up must have made a mistake with the records.

But Daniel and her colleagues now have what they say are additional, more detailed jail records that were not made available to Taylor's lawyer at trial years ago.

The more detailed records were acquired by the Attorney General's office in its investigation of the case.

And they now become exhibits in a motion asking ultimately for a new trial for Daniel Taylor.

Prosecutors notes suggest that a 23rd district jailer had no doubt that Taylor was locked up as the paperwork shows and names of others who in the lock-up at the time. Those were people Taylor's lawyer could have questioned if he'd had the names.

In Taylor's trial years ago, his confession trumped the jail records but the last couple decades have revealed a lot about the occurrence of false confessions - especially among juveniles.

The State's Attorney's Office revisited this case a decade ago and concluded that the Taylor conviction should stand.

It's reviewing it once again but no detailed comment until the office sees this new motion filed Thursday.