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
Other exoneration anniversaries this week:
, Maryland (Served 7 Years, Exonerated 02/08/99)
Donte L. Booker
, Ohio (Served 15 Years, Exonerated 02/09/05)
, North Carolina (Served 9 Years, Exonerated 02/09/01)