CLEVELAND — After spending two years behind bars, a Cleveland man framed for trying to kill his own children is now free.
A judge dismissed the case against Juan Taylor Wednesday after his attorneys discovered the evidence against him was false.
"I'm just happy it's finally over and that justice has been, almost, served," Taylor told 3News following his release.
The 38-year-old Bedford native sighed in both in relief and in frustration about the last two years of his life that were stripped away. He faced serious charges, including attempted murder and aggravated arson.
"I got arrested and did a lot of time for something I didn't do," he said. "I was just so flabbergasted. How can they accuse me of something so horrendous? ... Attempted murder? Me? Wow."
In July of 2019, townhomes in the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority on Bohn Road were set ablaze. No one was injured, but CMHA police named Taylor as the culprit.
"I just broke down and cried in my cell," Taylor remembered. "'How can they charge me towards something like this towards my own kids?'"
With his case at a standstill, Taylor hired trial attorney Robert DiCello and his team, which included retired police officer turned private investigator Roger Martin.
"It was a little disheartening, because as a retired police officer, I like to hold police officers to a very high standard," Martin said.
"What we found was essentially that the officers lied about the investigation," DiCello added. "They made up facts in their investigation."
Fellow attorney Peter Soldato, who directly handled the case, reveled in the fact that a dismissal of this nature is rare, but justified.
"When these kind of offenses are charged, usually they're taken to the jury," Soldato said. "Every single person we talked to, every single piece of evidence we identified, it all corroborated with what Juan was saying."
Taylor's time away weighs heavy, but he says he has relied on his faith and family.
"The time that I spent in jail was just so hard," he lamented. :That time, I'll never get that time back, but I know moving forward, that time I can control. [I'll continue] to better myself and be in my kids' future. It's finally over, thank God."
If Taylor had been convicted, he potentially faced life in prison. The details of the officers' apparent false claims have not been shared publicly just yet because Taylor and his attorneys say they are looking into the possibility of filing a civil lawsuit.
3News reached out to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office for comment.