A North Carolina man spent 17 years in jail for a homicide that he did not commit, and he has been fighting for his freedom ever since. The 49-year-old man pursued every appeal he could, all the while maintaining that he was innocent of the crime he was accused of. Finally, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission reviewed his case and was instrumental in having his case formally examined.
In the original case, the Wake County man was accused of murder and was convicted at trial. However, the only physical evidence presented at trial consisted of statements that blood evidence was found in the accused man’s car.
From a review of the evidence, and based on testimony from a North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agent, the evidence that was taken from his vehicle in fact did not test positive for blood. Even so, the prosecution knowingly presented their case to the jury that a stain in his vehicle did test positively for blood.
Based on this examination, and in light of this new evidence, he was released from jail in February 2010. He has now filed a lawsuit claiming that SBI agents and supervisors deliberately concealed the negative results of the blood test and presented false evidence to the jury in the case against him.
After this man’s long-awaited exoneration, the North Carolina attorney general instituted an investigation into other cases involving blood evidence. That inquiry revealed that at least 229 North Carolina cases have similar problematic results and may have been used to wrongfully convict other innocent people. Hopefully th estate will look carefully at each of these cases, so that other innocent people will not have to spend any more time in jail than they already have.
Source: NewsObserver.com, “Taylor suit seeks money from SBI,” Mandy Locke and Joseph Neff, 29 June 2011