News 04.09.15

North Carolina Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Darryl Howard Case

Darryl Howard's family and attorneys outside the courthouse last May.

North Carolina Supreme Court judges heard arguments yesterday in the case of Darryl Howard, according to the

News & Observer



Last May, Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson ruled that Howard’s conviction should be overturned due to a lack of physical evidence tying him to the double-murder for which he is serving an 80-year sentence. Judge Hudson also issued an order setting bail so that Howard could be released pending retrial. However, state prosecutors immediately appealed both rulings.

Howard was convicted in 1995 based on conflicting witness testimony which claimed that Howard was seen arguing with one of the victims the day before the crime occurred. One witness later recanted, stating he was coerced into implicating Howard. Another was paid $10,000 from a state compensation fund for her testimony.

During the investigation, DNA testing of sperm found on one of the victims’ bodies excluded Howard as the source. But the prosecution proceeded with its case against Howard, convincing the jury instead that no sexual assaults took place.

The Innocence Project conducted more testing last year on the two victims’ rape kits. DNA from one of the kits matched to a career criminal with over 35 prior convictions, and excluded Howard. Testing on the other kit revealed a second male profile that also excluded Howard.

Last month, Howard’s wife Nannie published an op-ed in the

News & Observer

, pleading for her husband’s release. Speaking outside the Court of Appeals Wednesday, she said she remains optimistic that the Supreme Court will do the right thing.

“I want the system to really work,” she told the

News & Observer

. “If this is not rectified in a timely manner, it leaves a bad stain on the state of North Carolina.”

Read the full story



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