State News

Authorities: Darryl Hunt shot himself

Posted March 16

— Police said Wednesday that Darryl Hunt, who spent nearly two decades in prison for a murder he didn't commit, killed himself in Winston-Salem over the weekend.

Hunt was found dead inside a car on University Parkway, near the Wake Forest University campus, early Sunday.

Winston-Salem police said a handgun was found near Hunt's body, and an autopsy determined that he died of a single gunshot wound to the torso. Because the car was locked and there was no evidence of a struggle inside or near the car, investigators concluded that Hunt committed suicide.

Friends said Hunt had been depressed after being diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago and had recently gotten divorced.

Police on Saturday issued a missing person notice for Hunt, who suffered from a medical condition that required treatment and at that point had not been seen for nine days.

After 19 years in prison, Hunt was exonerated in February 2004 after DNA evidence led police to Willard Brown, who confessed to killing a Winston-Salem newspaper editor. Hunt was later pardoned by Gov. Mike Easley and was awarded a settlement of more than $1.6 million in 2007. He went on to found the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, an advocacy group for the wrongfully convicted, and often spoke out publicly against the death penalty.

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  • Betsey Duggins Mar 16, 2016
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    Sad indeed. May he and his family have peace. So sorry he took his own life.

  • RB Redmond Mar 16, 2016
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    So sad. I wonder if he was having a hard time blending back in to society.

  • Catherine Edwards Mar 16, 2016
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    People found innocent get $50k/year up to 15 years. Then they can sue for more. He must have won a suit against whomever railroaded him.

  • William James Mar 16, 2016
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    This is a said end for an innocent man. But, why did he get paid $1.6Million for 19yrs, but those two men from Robeson County who served over 30yrs a piece only received $750,000pc, that's like $3.50hr. Also, for it to later come to light that the real murder of the little girl was actually interviewed by the police, released, and managed to kill a lady a month later in the same county, yet not a soul made the connection. These guys spent 30yrs in prison under the label of child rapist and murder, yet the incompetent police who railroaded them, they are mentally delayed by the way got promoted, one is even the sheriff.