Deemed a child rapist for 36 years, a Jacksonville man is absolved in a case of mistaken identity
Edward Taylor and Stephanie Love embrace Friday at the court hearing overturning Taylor's 1987 rape conviction. Love was a 4-year-old sexual assault victim who Taylor misidentified in the case.
He was convicted of raping a child in 1986, despite repeated protests that he had not touched the 4-year-old girl.
Edward Clayton Taylor spent the next 32 years in prison, his appeals all turned down. Until now.
With a hammer blow, the Jacksonville man's criminal past was erased Friday morning, as was his status as a sex offender, after the now-adult little girl said she misidentified Taylor.
For Taylor, who is now 57 and has been paroled since 2019 in part because of Stephanie McIntyre Love's testimony about her false identification, being granted his request for post-conviction relief relieves him after all these years. Love agreed that her name can be used to tell her and Taylor's story.
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It was about an abused child, a neighbor and a friend's family members. The girl was shown a series of photos that featured Taylor but not one of his brothers, who also lived next door - who would later be believed to be the actual perpetrator. The victim, an overwhelmed and confused child, had to testify at the trial.
The Innocence Project, a criminal justice reform nonprofit, began investigating Edwards' case in 2016 and found strong evidence that was later supported by Love, who recanted her testimony.
Jacksonville.com and The Florida Times-Union will provide full details as the full story unfolds.
This article originally appeared in the Florida Times-Union: Jacksonville Man Acquitted. He was considered a child rapist for decades
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