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Apr-01-2013 18:09printcomments

Man Who Spent 40+ Years In Prison Set to Be Released On Tuesday

Should the state of Arizona be sued for mishandling this case?

Louis Cuen Taylor
Louis Cuen Taylor

(TUCSON YBW) - In 1972, a then-eighteen-year-old Louis Taylor was convicted of killing 29 people in a horrific fire at Pioneer Hotel in Tucson, AZ that occurred two years prior. In December 1970, a then-16-year-old Taylor was at the hotel participating in the Christmas festivities and attempting to persuade hotel guests to buy him a drink. When a fire broke out at the hotel, Taylor helped a hotel custodian and police officers pull guests out of the burning building. Despite his efforts, 29 people lost their lives to the flames. Taylor quickly turned from being a hero to being a key suspect for starting the flames. The teen was taken into custody and interviewed by police without parental consent.

After a seven week trial, Taylor was found guilty by an all-white jury and sentenced to 28 concurrent life sentences. Today with the advancement of technology, scientists believe the flames may have been caused by another source, which would mean Taylor was wrongfully convicted. Judge Charles L. Hardy, who presided over his case, publicly disagreed with the jury’s decision to convict Taylor. ”The jury had so much conflicting evidence that I just judged some of the evidence differently than they did,” he told the Arizona Daily Star in March 1972. Judge Hardy had written Taylor a letter in the early 1980s that said he was negotiating with Arizona lawmakers to have the sentence commuted, but the deal was predicated on Taylor admitting guilt. Taylor maintained his innocence, refusing the judge’s help.

Last October, attorneys with the Arizona Justice Project filed a motion for post-conviction relief, asking for the case to be dismissed or for an evidentiary hearing. The attorneys, including Michael Piccarreta of Tucson and former Arizona State Supreme Court Justice Stanley Feldman, said several defense experts, using modern forensic fire science, would testify they would not have ruled the blaze arson. The defense team also alleged a prosecutor engaged in misconduct by not giving defense attorneys a laboratory report that said no accelerants were found and by talking to the judge without defense attorneys present. Taylor, who turns 59 this week, is scheduled to plead no contest as part of an agreement that sets aside his original conviction and gives him credit for time already served. Taylor struggled to plead no contest. ”He initially rejected it,” Arizona Justice Project Executive Co-director Katie Puzauskas said.

Should the state of Arizona be sued for mishandling this case?

First published by Your Black World


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Alice Stephenson April 4, 2013 9:26 am (Pacific time)

Somebody needs to set up a fund for this fellow and let us help him. How the heck is he gonna live? That's just terrible. I would send him some money and I bet millions of others would to, if we could be sure that HE would get it and not some crook.

Anonymous April 2, 2013 2:46 pm (Pacific time)


gp April 1, 2013 8:20 pm (Pacific time)

This is heartbreaking, how many more cases like this are there? As far as I am concerned all juries should find everyone and I mean everyone not guilty and the reasons are OJ Simpson, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield, Barak Obama, any number of banksters...they have killed plenty of people not just stolen mind boggleing amounts. Then there are the insurance companies, need I go on? There is no justice in the USA, big pharma can kill, BP Oil can kill with impunity.

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