Local News

Jury finds former Durham police investigator fabricated evidence to convict man of murder

Posted December 1, 2021 3:05 p.m. EST
Updated December 1, 2021 4:49 p.m. EST

A joyful Darryl Howard was released from prison on Aug. 31, 2016, after a judge threw out his two murder convictions and ordered a new trial.

— A federal court jury on Wednesday awarded $6 million to a man who spent 21 years in prison for two murders he didn't commit, finding that a retired Durham police investigator had fabricated evidence against him.

Darryl Anthony Howard 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.

The convictions were vacated in 2016 after Howard's attorneys successfully argued that DNA evidence, some of which wasn't tested until 2010, implicated two other men and cleared Howard. Durham County prosecutors then chose not to retry the case.

Howard sued Durham police in 2017, alleging that investigator Darryl Dowdy, who had retired by that time, had violated his civil rights.

Howard's attorneys presented evidence during the three-week trial that Dowdy had supplied details of the murders to informants so their statements to police and trial testimony would implicate Howard.

Howard and his defense team have argued for years that Washington was raped and killed by members of a New York street gang for which she dealt drugs.

Nick Ellis, one of Dowdy's attorneys, said he was disappointed in the verdict but respects the jury's decision.

"We have confidence in the investigation Detective Dowdy conducted," Ellis said.

Gov. Roy Cooper granted Howard a pardon of innocence in April.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.