Advocacy group stands behind work after man who had 1986 conviction vacated accused in recent shooting
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For 33 years, Edward Taylor was imprisoned. Just a month ago, his conviction in a 1986 sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl was vacated.

But on Friday, Taylor was arrested and accused of attempted murder following a shooting on A. Phillip Randolph Boulevard. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said in that shooting, a 61-year-old man was hospitalized for treatment of injuries that were described as non-life-threatening.

A JSO arrest report said the shooting was caught on JSO’s Real Time Crime Camera. According to the report, Taylor, 57, was found removing items from the trunk of a car before he was arrested, and further examination of the car revealed several bullet holes in the rear.

“The suspect Is seen walking towards the victim, points a firearm at him and shoots him in the chest,” the officer wrote in the report. A bronze-colored vehicle is seen driving off from the area, and while the vehicle is in motion, the report states that “several males begin discharging their firearms at this vehicle. After looking at this vehicle in the video surveillance and also looking at the suspect’s vehicle on scene that had several bullet holes shot in it, the vehicles look to be one in the same.”

According to the report, Taylor said he was at the scene, but told police he heard a single gunshot which made him to get in his vehicle and leave. The report states that he “advised that his vehicle began receiving gunfire because there were bullets being shot through it. He then stepped on the gas to accelerate the vehicle, which is when he realized one of his tires was flat. He then pulled over on the side of the road, removed items out of his trunk onto the roadway and attempted to change his tire, which is when he was contacted by police.”

The report adds that the suspect then requested an attorney.

Records show he was held in the Duval County jail on a $1.1 million bond and is scheduled to appear in court on July 18.

Why Taylor was shooting at the man is unclear but for now, he sits in jail where, if found guilty he could spend decades of his life in prison again.

For 33 years, Edward Taylor was imprisoned. Just a month ago, his conviction in a 1986 sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl was vacated. But on Friday, Taylor was arrested and accused of attempted murder following a shooting on A. Phillip Randolph Boulevard.

The Innocence Project issued a statement to News4JAX on Tuesday concerning Taylor’s arrest:

“The collaborative effort to both free and vacate the wrongful conviction of Edward Taylor required years of painstaking, diligent and thorough investigation by state and defense entities. We stand by that work and result. We cannot predict the future and our focus at the Innocence Project of Florida is squarely on freeing the wrongfully convicted because that is what justice demands. With the end of the postconviction process, so too ended our representation of Mr. Taylor. It is inappropriate to comment on this new, unrelated pending matter.”

Defense attorney Shannon Schott, who is not affiliated with the case, said there is no excuse for the crimes Taylor is accused of but added although his previous conviction was vacated, it highlights that, unfortunately, some people who have long-term prison sentences re-offend when they get out of prison.

“In Florida, we have very high rates of recidivism, which means when you get out of prison you are likely to re-offend and unfortunately it’s not uncommon to very soon after they are released from prison and go back into prison or be arrested for another crime,” Schott said.

According to the US Department of Human Services, more than two-thirds of prisoners are rearrested within three years of their release and half are reincarcerated.

Schott said there is a disconnect in the community for people that have served time in prison.

“As a community member, not as a defense attorney, I would like to see more emphasis on training and rehabilitation so that people can get the mental health the physical health care, the training, the vocational care that they need to actually contribute to our community and not be more of a burden,” she said.

Decades ago, Taylor was identified by the child as someone who touched her. He was arrested at age 21, tried and convicted of sexual battery of the child, who testified at the trial about what was done to her during a sleepover at Taylor’s house.

In 2010, the Innocence Project got involved in the case and found discrepancies.

Documents show the then-child identified the alleged rapist as “Jermaine’s daddy,” but investigation documents show Love said Jermaine had “two daddies” and “three daddies,” referring to Taylor’s brothers. Authorities never showed the child all photos of all three. There was never any DNA evidence linking Taylor to the child.

The Innocence Project filed a motion to vacate the conviction and sentence, and the State Attorney’s Office did not object to the motion.

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