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Harold Taylor


A delicatessen in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, was robbed of $65 on the night of December 22, 1926. The two men working at the deli that night, George Pilaviros and Zaharis Halkopoulos, viewed the perpetrators’ faces during the robbery.
 
Harold J. Taylor was indicted for the robbery after he was identified by the victims in an in-person lineup. Taylor was tried in February 1927 before Judge Charles Donahue. The jury found him guilty of robbery, and Judge Donahue sentenced him to four to seven years in prison.
 
Soon after arriving in prison, Taylor spoke with 16-year-old Harold Smith and his friend, Timothy Spring (alias Thomas Lynch), who were serving time in prison after pleading guilty to a series of robberies. Spring and Smith reportedly admitted to Taylor that they were the people who had robbed Pilaviros and Halkopoulos in the deli.
 
On the basis of these confessions, Taylor filed a motion for a new trial. Judge Donahue held a hearing wherein Smith and Spring told their version of events with regard to the robbery, which matched the stories told by the witnesses, and they were asked to identify the victims in the courtroom. Spring correctly identified both victims, however Smith was only able to identify Pilaviros. While Taylor’s attorney argued that Taylor had been a victim of misidentification, the Assistant District Attorney argued that Taylor had convinced Spring and Smith to confess and had provided them with the details of the crime.
 
On March 14, 1927, the judge granted Taylor’s motion for a new trial. The next day, the Assistant District Attorney nolle prossed the charges and Taylor was released from prison after serving 23 days of his sentence.
 
– Meghan Barrett Cousino
State:MA
County:Suffolk
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Reported Crime Date:1926
Convicted:1927
Exonerated:1927
Sentence:4 to 7 years
Race:Don't Know
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID