Ronald Taylor and George Gould are currently serving 80 years for the 1993 murder of a local shop owner. Both men have always maintained that they did not commit the crime, and new DNA evidence secured by an unlikely source may help them get a new trial.
Taylor and Gould were both found guilty of murdering Eugenio Vega DeLeon 15 years ago. They were convicted largely based on eyewitness testimony and other circumstantial evidence. The men are currently waiting for a judge to decide whether they should get a new trial.
A private investigator hired by the public defender's office says that DNA found on an electrical cord used to tie the victim's hands together matches neither Taylor nor Gould. Despite the fact that this testing was done in 2006, New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington's office has yet to run the DNA profile from the cord in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) databank – which could identify who actually committed the murder. In nearly 40% of DNA exoneration cases nationwide, the actual perpetrator was later identified, often through DNA database searches.
The man who helped secure the DNA testing on the cord, Gerald O'Donnell, is a former Cheshire police officer who previously did work for Dearington's office. Over the course of three years, O'Donnell has compiled a thorough report that supports Taylor's and Gould's case; among his findings:
- fingerprints found on the door handle of a safe in the victim’s store (where he was killed) are not Gould’s or Taylor’s, and police are now either unable or unwilling to locate the fingerprints for new analysis,
- the state's main witness now admits in a taped interview that she lied at trial because police were threatening to send her to jail, and
- another witness recanted her testimony, now saying that she was pressured by police to say she saw two black men in the victim's store.
Gould and Taylor served time on the same cellblock as Miguel Roman, who was released from prison a couple of weeks ago when DNA testing supported his claim of innocence.
Read the full story here
. (Hartford Courant, 1/4/09)
Read more about James Tillman
, who was exonerated through DNA testing in Connecticut in 2006.