Governor Pardons Man Imprisoned 26-Years Ago For Two Murders He Didn’t Commit | READ IN FULL
This is Governor Cooper’s sixth pardon of innocence since taking office in 2017, the governor’s office said.
“It is important to continue our efforts to reform the justice system and to acknowledge wrongful convictions” Cooper said.
Darryl Anthony Howard, a Durham, now 59, was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder for the 1991 deaths of Doris Washington, 29, and her 13-year-old daughter Nishonda, as well as first-degree arson. He was sentenced to two consecutive 40-year terms.
According to CNN, Howard can now file a claim for compensation for the years he spent in prison. In North Carolina, people wrongly convicted of felonies can receive up to $50,000 per year they were in prison, but not more than $750,000.
Howard’s attorney, Amelia Green, said;
“We are pleased to have the State acknowledge what has been clear all along; Darryl Howard never should have spent a moment in prison for these horrifying crimes, let alone over 22 years. Darryl is relieved to have this official recognition of his innocence as he moves forward to the next chapter in his life.”
In 2009, Howard’s attorneys tested rape kits related to the alleged sexual assault case and found new evidence that pointed to other suspects.
While his sentence was thrown out in 2014, Howard remained in prison through August 2016 after DNA evidence proved he was not involved in the crimes.
In 2016, a judge in North Carolina ruled the new DNA evidence showed that Howard was innocent
Days after the judge vacated the convictions, a district attorney reportedly announced he would not retry the case.