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Exonerated: Am I Really Free?

Exonerated: Am I Really Free?

“If these people don’t ever release me from prison, if I exhaust all my remedies in court, I’m gonna make these people kill me,” Daniel Taylor said to his brother, David Taylor during the third time that David purposefully got himself incarcerated in order to spend time with Daniel.

When Daniel Taylor was 17, he was wrongly convicted of a double murder that he physically could not have committed.  Police investigators beat him into the false confession that sealed his fate, but there was paperwork to prove he had been in police custody for disorderly conduct at the time the murders occurred.  Daniel spent two decades of his life sentence looking out from behind bars knowing that he had every right to be free.  On June 28th, 2013, the charges against Daniel were dropped and he was released from maximum-security prison in Menard, IL.  According to the National Registry of Exonerations, Daniel was the 90th to be exonerated in Cook County since 1989 and the 34th to be wrongfully convicted based on a faulty confession.

 

 Daniel Taylor, center, watches his nieces and nephews play in front of his Aunt Marie's house on Thursday, July 4, 2013.  Nearly all of his nieces and nephews were born during the twenty years he was incarcerated.  The Fourth of July, his sixth day of freedom, was the first time that he met all of them.  He said it was overwhelming to observe all of the life that he had missed on a holiday that celebrates freedom. 

Daniel Taylor, center, watches his nieces and nephews play in front of his Aunt Marie's house on Thursday, July 4, 2013.  Nearly all of his nieces and nephews were born during the twenty years he was incarcerated.  The Fourth of July, his sixth day of freedom, was the first time that he met all of them.  He said it was overwhelming to observe all of the life that he had missed on a holiday that celebrates freedom. 

    Daniel carries Danielle, his niece, inside his brother David's house on Monday, July 8, 2013.  On either side of David's house there are evicted homes where gangs, similar to the one Daniel and David were in years ago, sit with guns in their laps openly dealing to passersby.  There has been a lot of violence in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago, where they live, so Daniel wants to move into a safer area, to insure Danielle's safety and to prevent himself and his brother from returning to their old lifestyle.  David met Danielle's mother while visiting Daniel in prison, which is only part of why Danielle is named for Daniel.  Daniel and Danielle have become quite close since Daniel came home.   "If I hadn't gone to prison, there is a chance that my life would have been a lot different," Daniel said.  "I probably wouldn’t be the thinker that I am now.  I probably wouldn’t be the understanding person that I am now.  I probably would have turned out to be a thug or a bum or someone that should be taken off this earth, or I may not even be here!"

 

Daniel carries Danielle, his niece, inside his brother David's house on Monday, July 8, 2013.  On either side of David's house there are evicted homes where gangs, similar to the one Daniel and David were in years ago, sit with guns in their laps openly dealing to passersby.  There has been a lot of violence in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago, where they live, so Daniel wants to move into a safer area, to insure Danielle's safety and to prevent himself and his brother from returning to their old lifestyle.  David met Danielle's mother while visiting Daniel in prison, which is only part of why Danielle is named for Daniel.  Daniel and Danielle have become quite close since Daniel came home.

 "If I hadn't gone to prison, there is a chance that my life would have been a lot different," Daniel said.  "I probably wouldn’t be the thinker that I am now.  I probably wouldn’t be the understanding person that I am now.  I probably would have turned out to be a thug or a bum or someone that should be taken off this earth, or I may not even be here!"

 Lee Williams Jr., left, sits quietly with his brother Daniel, right, after meeting him for the first time in their lives.  Before Daniel got out of prison, Daniel did not know that he had another brother.  Lee is named after their father, who left Daniel's family at a time when his mother was addicted to cocaine.  As a result, Daniel and David ended up with the Department of Children and Family Services in multiple foster homes before living in the streets.  "It felt good to find out I had another brother," Daniel said.  "It was a great moment in life."

Lee Williams Jr., left, sits quietly with his brother Daniel, right, after meeting him for the first time in their lives.  Before Daniel got out of prison, Daniel did not know that he had another brother.  Lee is named after their father, who left Daniel's family at a time when his mother was addicted to cocaine.  As a result, Daniel and David ended up with the Department of Children and Family Services in multiple foster homes before living in the streets.  "It felt good to find out I had another brother," Daniel said.  "It was a great moment in life."

 Daniel intimately texts a woman he is interested in on his phone prior to saying "Goodnight" to his mother in his mother's apartment building.  Daniel explained that he is learning many of his pent up personal desires can be satisfied through technology, but still finds texting frustratingly difficult.  Daniel said, "My two-year old niece Danielle can use a phone better than I can.  Thats pretty sad!" 

Daniel intimately texts a woman he is interested in on his phone prior to saying "Goodnight" to his mother in his mother's apartment building.  Daniel explained that he is learning many of his pent up personal desires can be satisfied through technology, but still finds texting frustratingly difficult.  Daniel said, "My two-year old niece Danielle can use a phone better than I can.  Thats pretty sad!" 

 Though he hasn’t signed the lease yet, Daniel tells David how he is going to decorate his room in their new Evanston apartment. An anonymous benefactor is paying their rent for six months in order to help them move out of the dangerous South Side neighborhood that they are currently living in with Danielle, David's daughter.  Evanston is a suburb north of Chicago that has a much lower crime rate and more job opportunities than Roseland.  The realtor warned Daniel and David that there is lead in the apartment's paint, so they should watch Danielle carefully to make sure she does not consume any of it.  Daniel responded, "I think lead paint is the very least of our problems."

Though he hasn’t signed the lease yet, Daniel tells David how he is going to decorate his room in their new Evanston apartment. An anonymous benefactor is paying their rent for six months in order to help them move out of the dangerous South Side neighborhood that they are currently living in with Danielle, David's daughter.  Evanston is a suburb north of Chicago that has a much lower crime rate and more job opportunities than Roseland.  The realtor warned Daniel and David that there is lead in the apartment's paint, so they should watch Danielle carefully to make sure she does not consume any of it.  Daniel responded, "I think lead paint is the very least of our problems."

 Daniel and David move items into their new apartment in Evanston, IL on July 22, 2013.  Many of their belongings came from Margaret Rosetta, who had also been incarcerated.  She had died a week prior to Daniel's move, but left all of her belongings to him.  According to her close friend, Becky Frank, "Margaret contributed all of her time and effort to helping people get back on their feet."

Daniel and David move items into their new apartment in Evanston, IL on July 22, 2013.  Many of their belongings came from Margaret Rosetta, who had also been incarcerated.  She had died a week prior to Daniel's move, but left all of her belongings to him.  According to her close friend, Becky Frank, "Margaret contributed all of her time and effort to helping people get back on their feet."

 Daniel kisses his niece, Danielle, after awaking her in their new apartment in Evanston, IL on Wednesday, July 31, 2013.  Of his new life, Daniel said, "Freedom means that now I realize how much was taken away from me.  Am I really free? I’m not in prison.  But there is so much going on in my mind, so much that I don’t know out here.  It's like I’m a newborn baby learning life.  It's frustrating, but I would rather have this frustration than the alternative."

Daniel kisses his niece, Danielle, after awaking her in their new apartment in Evanston, IL on Wednesday, July 31, 2013.

Of his new life, Daniel said, "Freedom means that now I realize how much was taken away from me.  Am I really free? I’m not in prison.  But there is so much going on in my mind, so much that I don’t know out here.  It's like I’m a newborn baby learning life.  It's frustrating, but I would rather have this frustration than the alternative."


Exonerated: Am I Really Free?

“If these people don’t ever release me from prison, if I exhaust all my remedies in court, I’m gonna make these people kill me,” Daniel Taylor said to his brother, David Taylor during the third time that David purposefully got himself incarcerated in order to spend time with Daniel.

When Daniel Taylor was 17, he was wrongly convicted of a double murder that he physically could not have committed.  Police investigators beat him into the false confession that sealed his fate, but there was paperwork to prove he had been in police custody for disorderly conduct at the time the murders occurred.  Daniel spent two decades of his life sentence looking out from behind bars knowing that he had every right to be free.  On June 28th, 2013, the charges against Daniel were dropped and he was released from maximum-security prison in Menard, IL.  According to the National Registry of Exonerations, Daniel was the 90th to be exonerated in Cook County since 1989 and the 34th to be wrongfully convicted based on a faulty confession.

 

Daniel Taylor, center, watches his nieces and nephews play in front of his Aunt Marie's house on Thursday, July 4, 2013.  Nearly all of his nieces and nephews were born during the twenty years he was incarcerated.  The Fourth of July, his sixth day of freedom, was the first time that he met all of them.  He said it was overwhelming to observe all of the life that he had missed on a holiday that celebrates freedom. 

 

Daniel carries Danielle, his niece, inside his brother David's house on Monday, July 8, 2013.  On either side of David's house there are evicted homes where gangs, similar to the one Daniel and David were in years ago, sit with guns in their laps openly dealing to passersby.  There has been a lot of violence in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago, where they live, so Daniel wants to move into a safer area, to insure Danielle's safety and to prevent himself and his brother from returning to their old lifestyle.  David met Danielle's mother while visiting Daniel in prison, which is only part of why Danielle is named for Daniel.  Daniel and Danielle have become quite close since Daniel came home.

 "If I hadn't gone to prison, there is a chance that my life would have been a lot different," Daniel said.  "I probably wouldn’t be the thinker that I am now.  I probably wouldn’t be the understanding person that I am now.  I probably would have turned out to be a thug or a bum or someone that should be taken off this earth, or I may not even be here!"

Lee Williams Jr., left, sits quietly with his brother Daniel, right, after meeting him for the first time in their lives.  Before Daniel got out of prison, Daniel did not know that he had another brother.  Lee is named after their father, who left Daniel's family at a time when his mother was addicted to cocaine.  As a result, Daniel and David ended up with the Department of Children and Family Services in multiple foster homes before living in the streets.  "It felt good to find out I had another brother," Daniel said.  "It was a great moment in life."

Daniel intimately texts a woman he is interested in on his phone prior to saying "Goodnight" to his mother in his mother's apartment building.  Daniel explained that he is learning many of his pent up personal desires can be satisfied through technology, but still finds texting frustratingly difficult.  Daniel said, "My two-year old niece Danielle can use a phone better than I can.  Thats pretty sad!" 

Though he hasn’t signed the lease yet, Daniel tells David how he is going to decorate his room in their new Evanston apartment. An anonymous benefactor is paying their rent for six months in order to help them move out of the dangerous South Side neighborhood that they are currently living in with Danielle, David's daughter.  Evanston is a suburb north of Chicago that has a much lower crime rate and more job opportunities than Roseland.  The realtor warned Daniel and David that there is lead in the apartment's paint, so they should watch Danielle carefully to make sure she does not consume any of it.  Daniel responded, "I think lead paint is the very least of our problems."

Daniel and David move items into their new apartment in Evanston, IL on July 22, 2013.  Many of their belongings came from Margaret Rosetta, who had also been incarcerated.  She had died a week prior to Daniel's move, but left all of her belongings to him.  According to her close friend, Becky Frank, "Margaret contributed all of her time and effort to helping people get back on their feet."

Daniel kisses his niece, Danielle, after awaking her in their new apartment in Evanston, IL on Wednesday, July 31, 2013.

Of his new life, Daniel said, "Freedom means that now I realize how much was taken away from me.  Am I really free? I’m not in prison.  But there is so much going on in my mind, so much that I don’t know out here.  It's like I’m a newborn baby learning life.  It's frustrating, but I would rather have this frustration than the alternative."


Exonerated: Am I Really Free?
 Daniel Taylor, center, watches his nieces and nephews play in front of his Aunt Marie's house on Thursday, July 4, 2013.  Nearly all of his nieces and nephews were born during the twenty years he was incarcerated.  The Fourth of July, his sixth day of freedom, was the first time that he met all of them.  He said it was overwhelming to observe all of the life that he had missed on a holiday that celebrates freedom. 
    Daniel carries Danielle, his niece, inside his brother David's house on Monday, July 8, 2013.  On either side of David's house there are evicted homes where gangs, similar to the one Daniel and David were in years ago, sit with guns in their laps openly dealing to passersby.  There has been a lot of violence in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago, where they live, so Daniel wants to move into a safer area, to insure Danielle's safety and to prevent himself and his brother from returning to their old lifestyle.  David met Danielle's mother while visiting Daniel in prison, which is only part of why Danielle is named for Daniel.  Daniel and Danielle have become quite close since Daniel came home.   "If I hadn't gone to prison, there is a chance that my life would have been a lot different," Daniel said.  "I probably wouldn’t be the thinker that I am now.  I probably wouldn’t be the understanding person that I am now.  I probably would have turned out to be a thug or a bum or someone that should be taken off this earth, or I may not even be here!"
 Lee Williams Jr., left, sits quietly with his brother Daniel, right, after meeting him for the first time in their lives.  Before Daniel got out of prison, Daniel did not know that he had another brother.  Lee is named after their father, who left Daniel's family at a time when his mother was addicted to cocaine.  As a result, Daniel and David ended up with the Department of Children and Family Services in multiple foster homes before living in the streets.  "It felt good to find out I had another brother," Daniel said.  "It was a great moment in life."
 Daniel intimately texts a woman he is interested in on his phone prior to saying "Goodnight" to his mother in his mother's apartment building.  Daniel explained that he is learning many of his pent up personal desires can be satisfied through technology, but still finds texting frustratingly difficult.  Daniel said, "My two-year old niece Danielle can use a phone better than I can.  Thats pretty sad!" 
 Though he hasn’t signed the lease yet, Daniel tells David how he is going to decorate his room in their new Evanston apartment. An anonymous benefactor is paying their rent for six months in order to help them move out of the dangerous South Side neighborhood that they are currently living in with Danielle, David's daughter.  Evanston is a suburb north of Chicago that has a much lower crime rate and more job opportunities than Roseland.  The realtor warned Daniel and David that there is lead in the apartment's paint, so they should watch Danielle carefully to make sure she does not consume any of it.  Daniel responded, "I think lead paint is the very least of our problems."
 Daniel and David move items into their new apartment in Evanston, IL on July 22, 2013.  Many of their belongings came from Margaret Rosetta, who had also been incarcerated.  She had died a week prior to Daniel's move, but left all of her belongings to him.  According to her close friend, Becky Frank, "Margaret contributed all of her time and effort to helping people get back on their feet."
 Daniel kisses his niece, Danielle, after awaking her in their new apartment in Evanston, IL on Wednesday, July 31, 2013.  Of his new life, Daniel said, "Freedom means that now I realize how much was taken away from me.  Am I really free? I’m not in prison.  But there is so much going on in my mind, so much that I don’t know out here.  It's like I’m a newborn baby learning life.  It's frustrating, but I would rather have this frustration than the alternative."