Patrick Taylor, who spent 16 years in custody following his arrest and conviction in the fatal shooting of a suburban rapper in a Rolling Meadows home, is set to be released Wednesday after prosecutors dropped charges against him.
Taylor appeared over Zoom for a brief hearing in a Rolling Meadows courtroom Wednesday afternoon, when he was informed the charges against him stemming from the 2006 murder of 30-year-old Marquis Lovings had been dismissed.
“Thank you,” Taylor said, when a Cook County judge informed him that the case had been dismissed.
Taylor was arrested in connection with Lovings’ death in 2007 and was later convicted in 2011 at trial. But Taylor’s attorneys contend that conviction was based solely on mistaken eyewitness testimony.
Lovings was at his Rolling Meadows apartment on Aug. 19, 2006, with five other people, when two armed men burst inside and ordered everyone on the ground. The occupants were told they would be killed if they looked at the armed men or refused to put their faces to the floor.
The armed men attempted to get Lovings to open a pair of safes he had in the home, and when he failed to do so, he was shot and the men fled the apartment. Lovings was pronounced dead at the scene.
A second man was also shot, but survived. After his conviction, Taylor was sentenced to life in prison.
An appellate court granted Taylor a new trial in 2016, ruling that he should not have been barred from presenting expert testimony on the reliability of eyewitness identifications.
While awaiting that trial, Taylor’s attorneys — who include Steve Greenberg and lawyers from the Exoneration Project, Loevy & Loevy — said Taylor this April recovered three boxes of exculpatory evidence at the Rolling Meadows Police Department that had been withheld from him.
His attorneys claimed that implicates Lovings’ true murderers and would have “dismantled” the prosecution’s case at trial.
A spokesperson for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on Wednesday said it learned recently of “reports and missing or lost evidence in the case against Patrick Taylor that had not been turned over to our office or to the defense attorneys by the assigned detective or police department.”
“Upon reviewing these previously unaccounted for documents and considering the deterioration of evidence, we determined that we would be unable to meet our burden of proof if the case was retried,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Today, in the interest of justice, we asked the court to dismiss the criminal case involving Mr. Taylor, and the court granted our request.”