Daniel Taylor

Case:

17-year-old Daniel Taylor signed a 29-page confession at 5:52am, after hours of interrogation, taking responsibility for a double murder in the Uptown area around 9pm on December 16, 1992. The eyewitness to the murders insisted that Taylor was not one of the 4 men that she had seen leaving the murder scene, despite police pressure that she corroborate the confession. Immediately upon learning that he had been charged with the murders, Taylor asserted an alibi: he was in police custody at the time of the deaths. The police checked their records, and found that he was in the county jail on a disorderly conduct charge from 7-10pm on the night of the murders. However, the police did not release him; rather, they sought to establish that their records were incorrect and that Taylor had not been in their custody at the time of the killings. At trial, a drug dealer testified that he had seen Taylor around 7pm in the vicinity of the murders. He later recanted his testimony, stating that police had promised him leniency on a drug charge in return for his testimony against Taylor. Two police officers testified that Taylor had assisted them around 9:30pm in locating the son of a woman they had arrested; however, the officers did not file a report of the arrest, or of Taylor's presence, until two weeks after Taylor asserted his alibi, a month after the murders. In addition, the woman whom they arrested that night remembered that the police had not left her apartment until 10:30pm that night, as they stayed in her apartment to watch themselves in a feature on the late-night local news, corroborated by the television network. Nonetheless, Taylor was convicted on the basis of this evidence and his confession, and has spent more than 8 years in jail. Taylor insists that he confessed to the murders after police threatened him and hit him with a flashlight.

New Developments: The Tribune's recent interviews with Taylor's co-defendants and a possible witness bolster his claims of innocence. Co-defendant, Dennis Mixon gave a detailed account of the murder, stating that Taylor and the other co-defendents were not connected to the crime, and that he initially met them in prison. Co-defendant, Grimes informed the Tribune that he lied about Taylor for leniency in an unrelated narcotics case, which is supported by court records. Additionally, statements from an eye witness positioned outside the building where the murder took place and Mixon's former girlfriend further support Taylor's innocence. Mixon told the Tribune that he had drugs on his possession at the time of his arrest, and that he swallowed the drugs in an effort to keep them hidden. The drugs made Mixon sick and vulnerable to police coercion. He stated that the police told him that he could leave, if he told them what they wanted to hear. Mixon fully conceded his presence at the scene of the crime, and further stated that he can identify the man who actually shot the victims.

From "A Report of Northwestern University Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Children and Family Justice Center"

Links/Articles

Chicago Tribune: "DNA voids murder confession"

Chicago Tribune: "When jail is no alibi in murders"