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Taylor to go free after plea in 1970 Pioneer Hotel fire

Prosecutors: Judge should accept deal

Louis Taylor pleaded no contest Tuesday to 28 counts of felony murder in the 1970 Pioneer Hotel fire as part of a deal that will see him set free after 42 years behind bars. Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall told a judge Monday that with a retrial impossible, he should accept a deal in the case.
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5 comments on this story

Apr 2, 2013, 11:16 am
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Justice delayed….

Apr 2, 2013, 11:17 am
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I’m still not understanding why a retrial is impossible.

Apr 2, 2013, 11:26 am
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@Bret Linden

Because some evidence has been lost, and new analysis techniques make it less clear there was an arson at all.

But, there’s always the possibility that Taylor could be convicted again. Rather than risk that, his plea deal gets him out of prison - at the cost of being unable to legally clear his name.

Apr 2, 2013, 11:30 am
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@Dylan Smith

While I fully concede I am not qualified to argue the law, I think you may be making my point for me. Lost evidence and dead witnesses can only serve to help Taylor in a retrial. New analysis seems to make clear that the cause of the fire is inconclusive, and that’s gotta be worth something when deciding to try him again or not. If the evidence which convicted him initially has now been discredited…I mean, what’s the criteria in deciding if someone gets a new trial or not?

Apr 2, 2013, 1:42 pm
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He was been disciplined 68 times in his 42 years behind bars, mostly for disrespect or disobeying orders. His prison record shows a 1991 sexual assault incident, narcotics possession in 1991 and arson in 1996.

This is kind of troubling. I hope he realizes the gift he has been given and keeps himself out of trouble on the outside. Maybe he can get a job as a barber?

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