State News

More requests for Wilmington 10 pardons to be sent to Perdue

Posted December 27, 2012

— Surviving members of the Wilmington 10 are making another trip to Raleigh to present to North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue more names of people who want her to declare them formally innocent.

A group backing their pardons planned Thursday to present more than 130,000 petition names from an Internet-based campaign to a Perdue representative. Benjamin Chavis and three other living Wilmington 10 members were expected to participate.

Pardon backers gave Perdue's office 14,000 names earlier. She could rule on the requests before she leaves office Jan. 5.

Nine black men and one white woman were convicted in 1972 in the firebombing of a Wilmington grocery that occurred after the police shooting of a black teenager.

Three key witnesses in the case later recanted their testimony, and all 10 people were freed in 1980 when the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., threw out the convictions, saying perjury and prosecutorial misconduct were factors in the verdicts.

The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP recently said newly discovered notes by the prosecutor in the Wilmington 10 case show he engaged in racial profiling to select a jury that would be more favorable for a conviction.

State NAACP President Rev. William Barber said notes taken by former Pender County prosecutor Jay Stroud show he lied to a judge to get a mistrial so he could pick another jury in the case. He then used a race-based strategy during jury selection.

The notes in Stroud's handwriting show "KKK? (good)" next to the names of potential white jurors, and a black member of the jury pool was referred to as an "Uncle Tom." Stroud used his challenges to remove blacks from the jury pool, Barber said.

Although the convictions were overturned, the state never cleared the activists' records.

51 Comments

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  • chattycat Dec 28, 9:56 a.m.

    That is very funny. You will soon see that you have gone from the frying pan to the fire. You will wish that governor Perdue was back in office. I plan on spending a lot of time laughing over the situation. piene2

    Laugh all you want, no one else is laughing. Her record is certainly nothing to laugh at and not at all comical. McCrory can do just about anything he wants and will have more support than Bev!

  • birkie74693 Dec 27, 7:40 p.m.

    Somebody says: "I think it's a case of they weren't proven guilty but they weren't declared innocent either."

    WRONG. If you are not proven guilty, you are NOT GUILTY. That's how our American system has worked for over 200 years. And the appeals court overturned the convictions; thus, the defendants are NOT GUILTY. This should NOT be difficult to understand, people.

  • Mustange Dec 27, 6:13 p.m.

    Best thing to do is leave this alone Bev. its a no win deal !!!!!!!

  • Bartmeister Dec 27, 5:31 p.m.

    I can't imagine that even Perdue would associate her name with this case. But none of us thought she could screw things up like she did either. Stay tuned, this is gonna get squirley!!

  • Bartmeister Dec 27, 5:28 p.m.

    I plan on spending a lot of time laughing over the situation. piene2

    =============================================

    Just like most of us with your posts.

  • Relic Dec 27, 5:01 p.m.

    "I think it's a case of they weren't proven guilty but they weren't declared innocent either."

    Legally and logically, that's impossible. If not guilty then they must be presumed innocent. A person can only be "proven" innocent by either 1) Showing that they could not possibly have committed a crime or 2) Proving the guilt of another for the crime. If their court cases were overturned and the judgements vacated and they were not re-tried then legally they are "innocent". A pardon does not make one "innocent", it only forgives any wrong done whether known or unknown.

  • Relic Dec 27, 4:58 p.m.

    Kristen168 - You have valid points but equally unidentified and unprosecuted were many of the whites and Klan members that participated in one of the most awful acts of the post-Civil War era, the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898 (which was led by Democrats...imagine that?)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmington_Insurrection_of_1898 These people too, had to answer to a higher court. However, two wrongs have never made a right and still don't.

  • tatermommy52 Dec 27, 4:55 p.m.

    I smell money.

  • ConservativeVoter Dec 27, 4:50 p.m.

    Bev is inept and incapable of making this decision. Wait for McCrory to make a fair and balanced decision.

  • Relic Dec 27, 4:50 p.m.

    "You will wish that governor Perdue was back in office. I plan on spending a lot of time laughing over the situation."

    McCrory can do anything short of a felony in office and I will still be glad to see Bev Perdue gone. She has the distinction of being the absolute WORST governor ever to sit in the seat in Raleigh. If McCrory can even APPROACH the level of incompetence of both Purdue and her staff then it will be amazing. Quite frankly any animal control officer in any county in NC could have done a better job than Bev Purdue.

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