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NC exoneree Darryl Hunt to reach settlement with city officials

Posted: February 8, 2007

Attorneys for Darryl Hunt, who was exonerated in 2004 after serving more than 18 years for a murder he didn’t commit in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have announced that Hunt will not file a civil rights suit against the city.

Attorneys said more information will be released Feb. 19th, and that a great deal of information on the case is still sealed in a 9,000-page non-public report produced over the last year by a panel investigating the police department’s conduct in the case.

"There are some matters that need to be finalized regarding a settlement," said Hunt's attorney, Mark Rabil, and Larry Little, an attorney and a former city alderman who has been a longtime adviser to Hunt.
Read the full story. (Winston-Salem Journal, 02/08/07)
DNA testing on biological evidence collected from the crime scene proved Hunt's innocence as early as 1994, but it took 10 years of legal battles until Hunt was released and exonerated. In 2003, the DNA profile from the crime scene matched another man. In 2004, that man confessed and pled guilty to the murder for which Hunt had been convicted twice.






Tags: North Carolina, Darryl Hunt

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“The Trials of Darryl Hunt” Opens Tonight In Hartford

Posted: June 15, 2007 11:32 am

A moving documentary film about Darryl Hunt’s two-decade quest to prove his innocence after he was wrongfull convicted – twice – of a Winston-Salem, NC murder, “The Trials of Darryl Hunt” opens tonight at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT. Click here for showtimes.

Read more about Hunt's case in our Know the Cases section.



Tags: Darryl Hunt

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Innocence Project Northwest marks its tenth anniversary

Posted: October 11, 2007 10:20 am

The Innocence Project Northwest is celebrating its tenth anniversary tonight with a benefit celebration and a screening of the documentary “The Trials of Darryl Hunt.” The IPNW, a clinical law program at the University Of Washington School Of Law, has overturned 11 convictions in ten years. The project accepts cases involving DNA evidence and those in which non-DNA evidence can prove innocence. Hunt and his attorneys will be in attendance to mark IPNW’s tenth anniversary and to discuss Hunt’s 19-year battle for freedom.

The screening will take place at 7pm tonight. To buy tickets visit IPNW’s website.

Read more about Darryl Hunt’s case here.

The Innocence Project Northwest is a member of the Innocence Network.



Tags: Darryl Hunt

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"The Trials of Darryl Hunt" on DVD

Posted: October 16, 2007 3:05 pm

An award-winning documentary film about a North Carolina man’s two-decade fight for justice, “The Trials of Darryl Hunt” releases today on DVD.

Watch a trailer of the film.

Add it to your Netflix Queue.

Buy it on Amazon.com.




Tags: Darryl Hunt

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North Carolina police to review practices in wake of exoneration

Posted: November 21, 2007 3:15 pm

The city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has decided to hire an independent security-consulting company to conduct an audit of its police department’s investigative practices. City officials have said that the decision is one of the effects of the exoneration of Darryl Hunt in 2004. Hunt was wrongfully convicted in 1985 of killing Deborah Sykes in Winston-Salem. He served nearly two decades in prison before DNA testing led to his release.

A review of police procedures by an outside agency was recommended by a recent report produced by a volunteer panel on the city’s handling of the Hunt case.

City Manager Lee Garrity said yesterday that the police department has changed since detectives investigated Sykes’ death, but that “there were still things that came out” during the Sykes review. One of them, he said, was that detectives were not filing incident reports consistently on time, a key step in the investigation of a crime.

Read the full story here. (Winston-Salem Journal, 11/20/07)
Read more about Darryl Hunt’s case here.





Tags: Darryl Hunt

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The state's duty to help exonerees rebuild their lives

Posted: December 3, 2007 9:51 am

Only 22 states have laws compensating the wrongfully convicted upon their release, and many of those laws are outdated and woefully inadequate. A major study published last week by the New York Times surveyed more than 130 people exonerated by DNA evidence and found that dozens had met with severe struggles on their reentry to society. An article in the Times’ Week in Review asks where the state’s duty lies in helping exonerees get back on their feet.

“One of the biggest challenges is that once an innocent person comes out of prison, they are not equipped with the tools to reintegrate into society, and that’s something that money alone can’t solve,” said Representative Donald M. Payne, a New Jersey Democrat who introduced a bill to set aside $1.25 million a year for programs for exonerated prisoners.

Of the states with compensation laws, only three — Massachusetts, Louisiana and Vermont — provide for the costs of medical and psychological care.

… “Some people feel, ‘All right, it’s over now. You’re out, you’re free, so what are you complaining about? What’s the problem?’ ” said Darryl Hunt, exonerated in North Carolina after serving 18 years for murder.

“The problem is that we’re free physically,” he said. “But mentally, we’re still living the nightmare every day.”

Read the full story here. (New York Times Week in Review, 12/2/07)
The Innocence Project exoneree fund supports exonerated Innocence Project clients as they rebuild their lives. Donate to the fund now.





Tags: Anthony Hicks, Darryl Hunt, Exoneree Compensation

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Darryl Hunt marks four years of freedom

Posted: February 6, 2008 4:14 pm

Four years ago today, Darryl Hunt was exonerated in North Carolina after serving more than 18 years in prison for a brutal Winston-Salem murder he didn’t commit. Hunt was first convicted of the murder in 1985, but a judge threw out the conviction because prosecutors used a girlfriend’s statements against Hunt at trial even after she had recanted them. While he was waiting for a second trial, he refused an offer to plead guilty that would have set him free.

After 11 months outside of prison awaiting trial, Hunt was again convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1989. Five years later, DNA evidence in the case was tested and showed that semen from the crime scene excluded Hunt. He wouldn’t be freed, however, until 2004, when the DNA profile from the crime scene was run in the state database at the request of Hunt’s attorneys. The profile matched a man serving time in prison for another murder. Finally, this evidence led to Hunt’s exoneration in 2004.

For more on Darryl Hunt’s long struggle for justice, rent or buy "The Trials of Daryl Hunt, "an award-winning documentary detailing his story, now available on DVD. View a trailer of the film and buy a copy here.

Read more about Daryl Hunt's case here.

Other exoneration anniversaries this week:

Today: Chris Ochoa and Richard Danziger, Texas (Served 11 Years, Exonerated 02/06/02)

Friday: Anthony Gray, Maryland (Served 7 Years, Exonerated 02/08/99)

Saturday: Donte L. Booker, Ohio (Served 15 Years, Exonerated 02/09/05)

Lesly Jean, North Carolina (Served 9 Years, Exonerated 02/09/01)




Tags: Donte Booker, Richard Danziger, Anthony Gray, Darryl Hunt, Lesly Jean, Christopher Ochoa

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Appalachian State University hosts series on wrongful convictions

Posted: February 14, 2008 12:06 pm

A string of films, discussions and performances on wrongful convictions began this week at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. The series will include panel discussions, lectures and screenings of the films “The Thin Blue Line,” “The Trials of Darryl Hunt,” “After Innocence” and “Deadline.” Exoneree Darryl Hunt will speak on Tuesday, Feb. 19, after the screening of the award-winning documentary about his case.

The university’s theater department will present the play “The Exonerated,” from March 4 to 8.

Read more about Appalachian State’s series here.

To host your own event on wrongful convictions, or to arrange for an exoneree to speak at an event, email us.



Tags: North Carolina, Darryl Hunt

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North Carolina exoneree calls for a new review of another man's conviction

Posted: April 29, 2008 2:05 pm

Darryl Hunt served 19 years in North Carolina prison for a 1984 rape and murder before DNA testing proved his innocence. Today, he runs the Darryl Hunt Center for Freedom and Justice and travels around the United States speaking about wrongful convictions.Last weekend, he spoke in Fayetteville, North Carolina, at an event organized in support of another man behind bars in North Carolina for a crime he didn’t commit – Lamont McKoy. The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence is working on McKoy’s case.

“Justice is something you have to demand,” he said, and encouraged McKoy’s friends and family to keep faith.

“In June of 1985, I was one vote away from the death penalty,” he said in his measured, deep voice. “If anybody here doesn’t believe in miracles, I do.”

…McKoy’s mother, Mae Helen McKoy, and his son, 16-year-old Lamont Jr., attended the event.
Mae McKoy said she prays every night for her son, now in his 17th year behind bars.

“It was just wonderful,” she said about the community outpouring Saturday. “It was so fulfilling, I couldn’t even eat. I’m still full from the joy.”

Read the full story here. (Fayetteville Observer, 04/27/08)
 



Tags: Darryl Hunt

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Five Years Free, Darryl Hunt Speaks Out for Justice

Posted: February 6, 2009 4:50 pm

Five years ago today, Darryl Hunt was freed from prison after serving nearly two decades in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He was convicted twice of the crime, and it took ten years to gain his freedom after DNA testing proved his innocence. Hunt’s original trial attorney, Mark Rabil, worked on the case for 20 years, never giving up until he saw Hunt walk free.

A feature documentary about his case, “The Trials of Darryl Hunt,” follows his 20-year legal battle and explores the causes of the injustice he suffered. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in the issue of wrongful convictions.

Today, Hunt is the director of the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, which support exonerated individuals and works for criminal justice reform.

He speaks frequently about his case to audiences around the world. On Sunday, he’ll be speaking at the Congregational United Church of Christ in High Point, North Carolina.

Other exoneration anniversaries this week:


Monday:
David Pope, Texas (Served 15 Years, Exonerated 2001)

Stephan Cowans, Massachusetts (Served 5.5 Years, Exonerated 2004)

Today:
Chris Ochoa and Richard Danziger, Texas (Served 11 Years, Exonerated 2002)





Tags: Darryl Hunt

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North Carolina Man Exonerated After 14 Years

Posted: September 2, 2009 5:40 pm

At 2:30 this afternoon, Joseph Abbitt walked out of a North Carolina courthouse a free man for the first time in 14 years, proven innocent through DNA testing. He was serving life in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, and a state judge today vacated his sentence and dropped all charges against him.

DNA testing completed this year shows that another man raped two teenage girls in their Winston-Salem home in 1991. The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence represents Abbitt and has worked on his case for four years. Although much of the evidence collected in the case had been destroyed, the Winston-Salem Police Department had preserved critical biological evidence collected from the victims’ bodies – and tests on this evidence proved Abbitt’s innocence.

Abbitt becomes the 242nd person exonerated in the United States through DNA testing and the seventh in North Carolina. His conviction was caused in part by eyewitness misidentifications – a factor in more than 75% of wrongful convictions overturned through DNA testing.

News coverage of the case:

Winston-Salem Journal: Man Cleared By DNA Evidence Goes Free

WLTX.com: DNA Clears Man Held of Rape Charge Since ‘95

News & Observer: DNA Test Clears Man of 1991 Rape Charges





Tags: Joseph Abbitt, Darryl Hunt

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Wrongful Convictions and Police Chiefs, Part II

Posted: October 7, 2009 6:20 pm

Innocence Project client Thomas McGowan spoke yesterday on a panel at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Denver. He was joined by the victim of the crime for which he was wrongfully convicted and the original investigating officer, Mike Corley, who is now the Assistant Chief of the Richardson, Texas, Police Department.

The Dallas Morning News Crime Blog covered the panel here
.
 
Read about McGowan’s recent meeting with Corley and the crime victim here
.
 
Also speaking at the event was Darryl Hunt, who spent nearly 19 years in North Carolina prisons for a murder he didn’t commit before he was exonerated through DNA testing. Joining Hunt were his attorney, Mark Rabil, Winston-Salem Police Sgt. Chuck Byrom and North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence Director Christine Mumma. Read more about Hunt's case here.
 



Tags: Darryl Hunt, Thomas McGowan

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After Two Decades in Prison, Helping Other "Homecomers"

Posted: February 9, 2010 2:35 pm

After serving more than 18 years in prison — including a full decade after DNA results first pointed to his innocence — Darryl Hunt was exonerated six years ago this week in North Carolina.

Hunt, who was only 19 years old at the time, was convicted of first-degree murder based on the testimony of eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen him with the victim. He was sentenced to life in prison, but his conviction was overturned by the North Carolina Supreme Court. In 1989, Hunt was retried before an all-white jury and again convicted of first-degree murder. Although DNA testing on crime scene evidence pointed to Hunt’s innocence in 1994, it would take another decade and numerous unsuccessful appeals before the DNA profile from the crime scene was run in the state database at the request of Hunt's attorneys. The results conclusively exonerated Hunt and pointed to another man who has since pled guilty to the murder.

After his release, Hunt returned to his hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and founded the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people after their release from prison.

The Project recently changed the formal name of its re-entry program, which helps formerly incarcerated individuals re-integrate into society through job-training and counseling, to the Homecomers Program. As Hunt has said, the name "homecomers" is a positive alternative to "ex-offender," because, "People who are rejoining their communities after serving their sentences deserve a second chance to change and become productive citizens.

That change begins with the label we give them. Words are not neutral, and the term 'ex-offender' continues to follow them in a negative way even while they are trying to turn their lives around." Hunt continues to speak across the country, advocating on behalf of exonerees, while promoting a message of criminal justice reform and compassion. Learn more about the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice.

An award-winning 2005 documentary, "The Trials of Darryl Hunt," chronicles the events leading to Hunt's exoneration, including footage taken throughout his long ordeal. The film has raised awareness around the world about the problem of wrongful conviction. Netflix subscribers can watch it online and it’s available for sale on Amazon.com (a portion of the purchase at Amazon through this link will support the Innocence Project). Watch the trailer here.

Other Exoneree Anniversaries This Week:

Stephan Cowans
, Massachusetts (Served 5.5 years, Exonerated 2/2/04)

Richard Danziger, Texas (Served 11 years, Exonerated 2/6/02)

Christopher Ochoa
, Texas (Served 11.5 years, Exonerated 2/6/02)

David Shawn Pope
, Texas (Served 15 years, Exonerated 2/2/01)





Tags: Darryl Hunt

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Weekly Roundup: Honoring the Exonerated and Reviewing the Justice System

Posted: January 30, 2012 10:30 am





Tags: North Carolina, Donald Gates, Darryl Hunt

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Tune-In: BET Series "Vindicated" Profiles Eight Exonerees

Posted: December 3, 2012 4:25 pm





Tags: Herman Atkins, Charles Chatman, Timothy Cole, Thomas Haynesworth, Darryl Hunt

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North Carolina Exoneree to Reunite With Sister After 40 Years

Posted: March 15, 2013 3:25 pm





Tags: North Carolina, Darryl Hunt

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