Man accused of deadly hotel fire in 1970 pleads guilty for attempted armed robbery

Man accused of deadly hotel fire in 1970 pleads guilty for attempted armed robbery

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The man who claims he was wrongly convicted of setting the Pioneer Hotel fire in 1970 has entered a guilty plea in connection with an armed robbery.

According to a news release from the Tucson Police Department, 63-year-old Louis Taylor was arrested on Thursday, July 13 in connection with an armed robbery in June.

Police said Taylor is the suspect in an armed robbery at the Riverpark Inn at Interstate 10 and Cushing Street.

Taylor was booked into the Pima County Jail facing charges of armed robbery and kidnapping. He was carrying a baseball bat at the time of the robbery.

He left behind a soda drinking cup which was used to gather forensic DNA evidence which led to Taylor.

According to court documents, Taylor was offered a plea agreement on Tuesday, Dec. 19, and he entered a guilty plea to an amended charge of attempted armed robbery.

Sentencing will take place on Feb. 5, 2018.

Taylor was just 16 years old in December 1970 when he was accused and eventually convicted of setting a fire that killed 29 people at the Pioneer Hotel in downtown Tucson. He was sentenced to 28 consecutive life sentences.

Despite contending he was wrongly convicted, he was released from prison in April 2013 after pleading no contest.

Taylor has filed civil suits against the city of Tucson, Pima County and the state for wrongful conviction for the trial that sent him to prison.

He has yet to settle, although possible settlements have been discussed with the city and county.

His attorney, John Leader, said Taylor has had a difficult time adjusting to life outside prison.

"Even people with only two years of prison, are sent to a halfway house before they are released back into society," he said. "Taylor was never given that chance,"

Several people who have tried to help Taylor adjust to freedom since his 2013 release expressed concern about his lack of everyday skills.

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