Recent DNA testing has shown that Ronald Taylor who was convicted in May of 1995 of an aggravated sexual assault, which occurred approximately two years earlier, is innocent of that offense.
The Harris County District Attorneys office has been working in concert with the Innocence Project and plans are being made to have Mr. Taylor released from prison.
While the city of Houston Police investigated this case, HPD’s Crime Laboratory performed no DNA testing. So, this is not a situation where faulty testing led to this conviction.
In July of this year, a bed sheet that was originally recovered at the scene of the crime was tested by ReliaGene Technologies and yielded the profile of another man matched through the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) database. This second individual, who bears a remarkable physical resemblance to Mr. Taylor, is currently in prison for another offense. Since the statute of limitations has run, there will be no effort to prosecute the actual contributor of the DNA sample.
The mandate of the Harris County District Attorneys Office is to see that justice is done. The recent DNA test reinforces the premise that DNA can be used to exculpate as well as to convict. I am grateful for the recent testing so that it can fulfill that mandate for Mr. Taylor. I also appreciate the diligence of the Innocence Project for their work in bringing this case to our attention.
What’s the big picture here? Is it the science or the judicial process in Harris County?