News reached Innocence Project staffers over the weekend that Darryl Hunt, who was exonerated in 2004 through DNA testing after serving more than 18 years in prison for a rape and murder he didn’t commit, passed away on Sunday in North Carolina.
Hunt was an enthusiastic proponent of wrongful conviction reform who often moved audiences with his public speaking appearances. He founded the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about criminal justice reform opportunities, advocating for the wrongfully convicted, and providing resources to support individuals who were recently released from prison.
The innocence community is reeling from the loss. A vigil was held Sunday night at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, where friends and colleagues came together in their grief to share their memories of Hunt.
“He was a very bright light for freedom and justice in our lives, in our community, in our state, even in the nation,” Stephen Boyd, former board member of the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, told WXXI 12. “That light is now gone and will be missed.”
Read columnist Barry Saunders’ op-ed about Hunt here.
Also see how Hunt’s case changed the eyewitness identification process here.