Reporting John Cody
CHICAGO (CBS) – A man who served two decades behind bars for the murders of two people — despite records showing he was in police custody at the time of the shooting — will soon go free, after prosecutors dropped all charges on Friday.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports Daniel Taylor confessed to killing two people in the Uptown neighborhood in 1992, but later recanted, telling the court he was behind bars for disorderly conduct when the slayings took place.
His case stems from the Nov. 1992 murders of Sharon Haugabook and Jeffrey Lassiter at an apartment in Uptown.
Police and prosecutors said at the time that Taylor and seven other young men were responsible, and Taylor confessed during a police interrogation, but later said that confession was coerced.
“Most people just can’t understand the kind of pressure that people – particularly young people, who are especially vulnerable – can be put under during police interrogation,” said Rob Warden, head of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, which represented Taylor after he was imprisoned.
Even though police records showed he was in lockup at the time, prosecutors said those records were wrong, and Taylor was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
On Friday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dropped all charges against Taylor, now 37, meaning he’ll soon be freed from Menard Correctional Center, about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.
“He certainly has a life left, but he’s been robbed of more than half of his life to date; just a horrendous miscarriage of justice,” Warden said.
Four of the other eight suspects also were convicted, while one was acquitted, and two had their charges tossed out before trial.