Just over a month ago, the judicial system vindicated Edward Clayton Taylor of his wrongful conviction in the 1986 rape of a 4-year-old Jacksonville girl. At 57, he was officially free of a heinous past.
Today he is back behind bars on a charge of attempted murder in a Friday night shooting on the city's Eastside, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Taylor, who had been released on parole for three years after the victim came forward saying he was not the right man, didn't have his case formally vacated until Judge London Kite's ruling on May 20.
Innocence Project Executive Director Seth Miller, whose criminal justice reform group presented strong evidence that someone else sexually assaulted the child, had no comment on Taylor's latest arrest.
"After the completion of the postconviction proceedings, the Innocence Project of Florida no longer represents Mr. Taylor," Miller said. "We do not have comment on what is now a new, pending legal proceeding."
State Attorney's Office spokesman David Chapman said prosecutors will review Taylor’s new arrest but stands by his office’s Conviction Integrity Review in the original case.
Duval County court records show that in the three years Taylor had been out of prison on parole, he only had one traffic violation.
Details of latest arrest
Jail records show Taylor is in custody in lieu of $1.1 million bail. The arrest report details what happened just before 9:45 p.m. Friday on Odessa Street and A. Philip Randolph Boulevard. But no motive is in the police narrative.
Video from a Sheriff's Office Real-Time Crime Camera from that area shows a man in a black tank top, jeans and white shoes walking up to the 61-year-old victim and shooting him in the chest, according to the report. The gunman chases a second person who was with the victim before the shooting.
A large crowd gathered around the victim as the gunman walks away, then a bronze-colored car is seen heading down Odessa as several men in the crowd begin shooting at it, the report said.
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Shortly after the shooting, officers spotted a bronze Hyundai Elantra about four blocks away on Spearing Street, the report said. The rear of the Hyundai had multiple bullet holes. The driver, wearing a black tank top, jeans and white shoes, matched the man seen on the crime camera.
Identified as Taylor, he confirmed he was at the scene and fled in the car when he heard a gunshot, he told officers in the report. More gunfire followed, and he realized he had a flat tire. So he pulled over and was preparing to change his tire when officers arrived. He then requested an attorney.
The victim, whose relationship with Taylor is listed as unknown, was hospitalized with serious injuries, according to the report.
The original crime
In 1986 the girl told her mother she was sore and she tested positive for a venereal disease.
She told investigators it was her neighbor friend's "daddy" who did it but never used Taylor's name, the motion for dismissal said.
Taylor was the friend's father, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. On May 13, 1986, police learned that at least two men lived next to the girl's home. But police failed to confirm who actually lived there, the motion said.
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The detective showed the girl a spread of photos that included images of Taylor and his brother Michael, who lived in the home. That photo spread did not include a third brother identified as Ithemas, who it was later determined also lived next door, the motion said. The girl identified Edward as the "daddy," and he was arrested.
The young child was even called into court where she again identified Taylor as the man who touched her. Taylor testified he could never do something like this and also said he did not have any symptoms of venereal disease when tested in jail.
Found guilty, Taylor was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
New revelations in Taylor's case
But as The Innocence Project began investigating Taylor's case in 2016, victim Stephanie McIntyre Love recanted her testimony at his 2018 parole hearing that led to his release a year later. She said she misidentified him but was positive that her attacker was someone in his family.
During a follow-up interview with The Innocence Project, she also stated she now believed that Ithemas assaulted her and signed an affidavit confirming that.
Further investigation revealed that Ithemas, a half-brother with the last name Anderson, slept in a bunk bed at the house. He was subsequently arrested for molesting four other girls younger than 12 in Brunswick, Ga., and had a venereal disease in 1986, the motion said.
The motion also pointed out it was apparent that Love did not understand the relationships of the people living in her friend's home.
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In 2019, after 32 years in prison, Taylor was paroled but remained a registered sexual offender on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement online list.
Ultimately, the State Attorney's Office's review concluded "it is likely Ithemas Anderson, and not Edward Taylor, who assaulted Love." So it did not oppose the motion to overturn Taylor’s sentence and conviction.
During a May court hearing, Love asked for "Taylor's "complete exoneration," adding she strongly believed Anderson assaulted her. She did not discount the work that investigators did in 1986 but said she was a small child and Edward and Ithemas "looked extraordinarily similar to me."
After Love gave her tearful testimony, the judge accepted the motion and also lifted the sexual offender status.
"I just want to relax, I want to breathe as a free man," Taylor said. "I am breathing free air now, if that makes sense. I want to spend time with my family and I want to travel, do some things I was not able to do because of the stipulations."
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This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Freed after decades, Edward Taylor is now jailed in attempted murder