Reporters: Maggie Vespa, Cory Marshall
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's been a whirlwind 24 hours for the man who spent the last four decades in prison.
"I persevered, you know, to tell my story of it," said Louis Taylor in news conference Wednesday.
Now, at the age of 58, his is truly a life lost.
"This is the tale of two tragedies; the 29 souls who died there and me being convicted," he said.
Day after day, month after month, year after year, Taylor watched time tick away.
"How did they let me rot in prison for 42 years?"
It's a sentence that stole Taylor's chance to graduate, get married, and raise a family.
Now, it's too late.
"I took care of all my family, and all my family's died already," he said.
With all that pain, comes anger at what he says was a hasty investigation into a horrific tragedy, that brought his life to a screeching hault at sixteen.
"I was interviewed without attorneys, without stenographers or recording devices," said Taylor.
They were sloppy tactics that, he says, were capped off, with a strip search by police, the findings of which were used to pin the Pioneer fire on a scared teen.
"The police gave me matches," he said. "I was a smoker, and those matches did not start that fire."
Now, Taylor hopes to move forward.
"There was light in the tunnel there for me because I knew it was going to be brought to light," he said.
But he also sent a message to those who held him back for so long, including Pima County State's Attorney Barbara LaWall.
"She should have done the most honorable thing," he said. "Why did she let me get out of prison if she had doubts or if people had doubts? That's a miscarriage of justice."
Taylor says despite that anger, he tried to make the best of his time in prison by getting an education.
While he was incarcerated, he earned his high school diploma and certification as an EMT.