After 21 years in prison, 'I'm going home'
"I'm going home," Darryl Anthony Howard told cheering supporters on Wednesday afternoon after a Durham judge threw out a double-murder conviction and ordered a new trial for him.Posted — Updated
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."
Wednesday's decision stemmed from a 2012 meeting between a private investigator for the Innocence Project and a man involved with Washington before her death. The investigator wasn't convinced that Jermeck Jones was being truthful about his relationship with Washington after his DNA was found on the bodies of the two women.
Jones appeared at Tuesday's hearing, but he repeatedly refused to answer questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Hudson first ordered a new trial for Howard in May 2014, ruling that the prosecutor and a police detective withheld evidence suggesting that Washington was raped and killed by a New York street gang for which she dealt drugs.
The state Court of Appeals reversed Hudson's ruling in April, however, ordering this week's hearing so that attorneys for the state could present evidence to show why the convictions against Howard should stand.
Barry Scheck, who defended Howard at the hearing, said he expects that his client has seen the inside of a courtroom for the last time.
"The DNA evidence alone is so overwhelming that our friends in the prosecutors' office, when they reflect on this case, they won’t retry it," Scheck said.
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