DNA helps free North Carolina Prisoner

NC_howardrelease0901_1500x845Durham, N.C. (WRAL) — “I’m going home,” Darryl Anthony Howard told cheering supporters on Wednesday afternoon after a Durham, North Carolina judge threw out a double-murder conviction and ordered a new trial for him.

Howard, 54, was discharged from custody on Wednesday without condition after serving 21 years in prison. He was convicted in 1995 on two counts of second-degree murder for the 1991 deaths of Doris Washington and her 13-year-old daughter, Nishonda, but he has maintained his innocence. Judge Orlando Hudson agreed with Howard’s attorneys that there was reasonable doubt that Howard committed the crimes and ordered that he be tried again.

Hudson said that DNA evidence unavailable at the time of Howard’s 1995 murder trial would have created a reasonable doubt for jurors who convicted him.

“You always have to have faith,” Howard said. “You always got to keep fighting. It took a long time to get to this point.”

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