Boston Herald

Suspect arraigned in three 1989 rapes
By David Weber
Tuesday, August 3, 2004

      During 10 years behind bars for a rape he did not commit, Neil Miller often thought about the man who should have occupied his prison cell.

     ``I always wondered if I would know him or what he would look like,'' Miller said after learning the same DNA tests that exonerated him became the principal evidence against a man arraigned yesterday for three 1989 rapes in Boston, including the one in which a 19-year-old woman mistakenly identified Miller as her attacker.

     Lawrence Taylor, 49, formerly of 120 Humboldt Ave., Roxbury, was held on $100,000 cash bail for rapes committed inside apartments on Beacon Street on Aug. 3, 1989, on Boylston Street on Aug. 24, 1989, and on Norway Street on Sept. 30, 1989.

     Police tabbed Taylor as the serial rapist after he was forced to submit a DNA sample to a state lab upon his conviction for a 1997 breaking and entering in Norfolk County.

     ``It's a good thing he's away now,'' Miller said. ``It's a bad thing it had to happen to myself and to those victims.''

     Before appearing in court yesterday, Taylor - who has a record of criminal convictions stretching back 37 years - already was held on $20,000 cash bail for alleged break-ins on Marlborough Street in March 2003 and Columbus Avenue in April 2003.

     Yesterday, he said he could not have committed two of the 1989 rapes because he was arrested on a breaking and entering charge shortly before they occurred.

     However, Suffolk First Assistant District Attorney Josh Wall said he already investigated that claim and determined Taylor was free on bail at the time of the rapes.

     Miller, 37, walked out of prison on May 10, 2000, after lawyers for the Innocence Project received permission to run DNA tests on bed sheets from the Boylston Street crime scene. The tests revealed that Miller's DNA did not match traces left on the sheets.

     DNA evidence was not recognized by Massachusetts courts until 1994, four years after Miller's conviction.

     After Miller's vindication, Boston police tested evidence from the Beacon Street and Norway Street rapes, which had never been solved, and determined the same man had committed all three crimes.

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