TUCSON, Ariz. — A 63-year-old Tucson man released after being imprisoned four decades in a deadly hotel fire in 1970 is now accused of armed robbery.
Louis Taylor was arrested Thursday on suspicion of armed robbery and kidnapping in the June holdup of a downtown hotel, police said.
Taylor was 16 at the time of the Pioneer Hotel fire. He was convicted of murder charges stemming from 28 of the 29 deaths from the Dec. 20, 1970, fire.
In the years leading up to Taylor’s release in 2013, Taylor maintained his innocence. Advocates for him argued that the evidence was faulty or insufficient.
Taylor was granted a new trial. But prosecutors agreed to his 2013 release if Taylor pleaded no contest, which he did.
Prosecutors said at the time that they still believed Taylor was guilty but that gaining a new conviction would be iffy because some evidence and witnesses were no longer available and because the fire’s cause couldn’t be reliably determined.
Taylor said in interviews after his release that he had trouble finding work and adjusting to life outside of prison, the Arizona Daily Star (https://goo.gl/CdhFVH ) reported.
Taylor remained in jail Friday, and online court records don’t disclose whether he has an attorney who could comment on new arrest.
The Arizona Innocence Project, which advocated for Taylor in the Pioneer Hotel case, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Police said Taylor was arrested in the hotel robbery after identification was made through surveillance video and forensic evidence.
According to police, the robber entered the hotel, walked behind a counter where the clerk was standing and produced a baseball bat while demanding money from the register.
The man was given an undisclosed amount of money and assaulted the clerk, causing minor injuries, before running off, police said.