DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Greg Taylor spent 17 years of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit and now he’s telling his story to hopefully prevent others from experiencing what he did.

In front of a room full of students, and broadcast live to even more online, Greg Taylor talked about what it’s like to lose hope.

“I was sentenced to the rest of my natural life in prison,” said Taylor

In 1993, Taylor was convicted of the murder of a woman in Raleigh. Taylor went to prison for the next 17 years, but he says his life continued without him.

“I missed a whole generation. And when I look at my daughter, the the only daughter I really knew, and it was a part of her life she was 9 or 10 and when I get out, she’s 26 and married with her own family,” said Taylor.

After nearly seventeen years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, Taylor says he started to lose faith he’d be able to prove his innocence.

“I was just going through life as the guy who was going to have to die in prison. And then the North Carolina Center of Actual Innocence took my case,” he said.

In 2010, the courts ruled in Taylor’s favor, freeing him from prison. But Taylor says even with his innocence proven, he would never be the same.

“The person that I became in prison was the person that walked out and that’s who the person is going to be,” said Taylor.

He says the transition of leaving society in the early 90s, and returning in 2010 is difficult for many reasons. He says reintroducing himself to new technologies was strange, but losing so much time with family was devastating. However, Taylor says he knows there are so many people who will not get the chance he has.

“My list of things to be thankful for is mighty long,” said Taylor. “And when I go to bed at night, and when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I am is thankful. And I have not lost that in eight years,” he added.

Taylor says the reason he continues to tell his story is to hopefully make a difference, and prevent others from going through what happened to him.