A federal judge in North Carolina has ordered that a man who was sent to prison 28 years ago be freed. The man was convicted of murder allegations when he was just a teenager. According to the North Carolina Superior Court Judge, not enough evidence was present to justify the man's conviction related to the 1988 murder.
The judge said that he was not sure if the man committed the crime or not. He admitted that the individual who killed the teen was a monster, but it was not clear that the convicted man actually committed the crime. Furthermore, the judge said that it overly and abundantly clear that the man did not receive a fair trial.
The 43-year-old man was let free from the Wilmington prison, and on Thursday later afternoon he arrived at the home of his cousin. He told reporters that he would sleep on the couch in his cousin's living room, which he preferred to a closed room. After years in prison, he said that he wanted to have a big space to sleep in rather than a shut up room. Admitting that he checked into prison as a child, and he still has a child's state of mind, the man said that he didn't know how to function in the world outside of prison.
According to the National Registry of Exonerations, approximately 150 people received exonerations in 2015. In the instant case, a teenage friend of the convicted man came forward and said that police had pressured him to testify against his friend during the trial. He was also pressured by his grandfather to tell the story.
This case is proof that just because an individual is convicted of a crime, it is never too late to go back and try to exonerate him or her. Indeed, no decision is final and if new evidence is brought forward that shows that someone was possibly innocent.
Source: federalnewsradio.com, "Judge orders man free after 28 years, cites unfair trial," Aug. 11, 2016