Incident Date: Between April and May of 1986
Jurisdiction: Fourth Judicial Circuit
County: Duval County
Charge: Sexual Battery
Conviction: Sexual Battery
Sentence: Life in Prison
Year of Conviction: 1986
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Sentence Served: 33 Years
Real perpetrator found? No
Contributing Factors: Witness/Victim Misidentification, Official Misconduct
Compensation: Not Yet
Up until June of 2019, Edward Taylor was incarcerated for 33 years for a crime he did not commit. Taylor was accused of committing sexual battery in spite of insufficient evidence to connect him to the crime.
At some point between April 1, 1986 and May 1, 1986, a four year old named Stephanie McIntyre alleges that she was sexually battered in the bedroom of Agnes Anderson’s house, who is Edward Taylor’s biological mother. This is the same residence that Edward Taylor was living in during the time that the crime occurred. Due to this fact, Taylor became a suspect in the case.
According to Stephanie, she and Edward Taylor’s three year old son, Jermaine, had been playing “house” on the day she was molested. Stephanie testified at her competency hearing and at trial that the perpetrator told Jermaine to “go back to work” and leave the room, and that she was molested after Jermaine left the room. While at times Jermaine seemed to implicate his own father in this molestation, at other times Jermaine made statements implicating Edward Taylor’s half-brother, Ithemas Anderson. Jermaine was eventually declared incompetent by the trial judge and did not testify at Edward Taylor’s trial.
Agnes Anderson stated in an affidavit that: 1) Ithemas Anderson lived with her at this house during April and May of 1986; 2) Ithemas Anderson’s bedroom in this house had bunkbeds in it; and 3) Ithemas Anderson was being actively treated for gonorrhea around the time of Edward Taylor’s arrest on May 14, 1986.
Since Stephanie did not immediately report the sexual battery or complain of any symptoms, no rape kit was conducted. In addition, no other physical evidence was collected from the Anderson or McIntyre houses. Stephanie contracted gonorrhea as a result of the sexual contact. Both of Stephanie’s parents tested negatively for gonorrhea. Despite also testing negatively for gonorrhea, Edward Taylor was convicted at trial and sentenced to life in prison. Taylor was convicted solely on the identification and testimony of this four year old child.
In the midst of investigating Edward Taylor’s case, IPF uncovered troubling evidence leading to the suspicion of one of Edward Taylor’s brothers, Ithemas Anderson, in the sexual battery. IPF’s investigation revealed that this brother had a history of gonorrhea and was being actively treated for gonorrhea around the time of Edward Taylor’s arrest. This brother was also accused of molesting four other female children in a similar manner. When IPF interviewed Ithemas and confronted him with the evidence, he never once denied molesting the victim in Edward Taylor’s case.
In 2016, IPF approached Stephanie to see if she would be comfortable sharing with us her recollection of this case. By this time, Stephanie was a 35-year-old adult woman. Stephanie expressed doubts in her identification of Edward Taylor. She stated in an affidavit that she now believes she misidentified Edward Taylor and that Ithemas Anderson molested her.
Stephanie has expressed her desire to see Edward Taylor fully exonerated. She stated that she felt pressured by both law enforcement and her parents to identify the perpetrator. When she was asked to identify the perpetrator in a photo spread, she repeatedly told the detective that all of the men in the photo spread looked the same to her. Despite her uncertainty, she was told by the lead detective that she had to pick a photo from the photo spread.
At top: Edward with his mom Agnes on the day of his release.
Left: Edward (right) and his son Jermaine (left) hugging on the day of his release.
Right and Below: Edward outside his home in Jacksonville, Florida with his art supplies in January 2021, and with his art from his time incarcerated.