News 06.08.12

Three North Carolina Men Fight to Clear Their Names

On September 23, 2011, Kenneth Kagonyera and Robert Wilcoxson were exonerated by DNA and other evidence for the 2000 murder of a North Carolina man and released from prison. Yet, three other men who were convicted with Kagonyera and Wilcoxson continue to fight to clear their names.

Teddy Isbell, Damian Mills, and Larry Williams, who all pled guilty to various charges related to the crime, have submitted claims of innocence before the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, reports the Citizen-Times.

Another man, Robert Rutherford, confessed to the murder in 2003, claiming that he and two other men committed the crime. DNA testing that was done before the five men were convicted but was never turned over to their attorneys, excluded all five as suspects and matched one of the two men Rutherford claimed was his accomplice in the murder. 

Isbell spent three years in prison; Mills spent eight; and Williams was behind bars for seven years.

“I’m innocent, and I stayed in the county jail 3 ½ years,” said Isbell. “It was a miscarriage of justice.”

Isbell continued, “How is it possible you find two innocent and not find the other three innocent? I don’t see them doing that.”

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