Freed N.C. Prisoners Call For Moratorium On Executions
Posted May 12, 2004 8:39 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Two former prisoners have joined the movement to stop North Carolina executions.
Alan Gell and Darryl Hunt spent a combined 28 years in state prison and death row. Both men recently had their sentences overturned and were released.
On Feb. 18, North Carolina courts acknowledged what Gell was saying for years. He walked out of court a free man, found not guilty after five years on death row and nine years in prison.
"You can't just sit there or stand there and tell me there's not problems, because I'm walking, living proof there's a problem," Gell said.
On Christmas Eve, Darryl Hunt began his life on the outside after 19 years in prison. Hunt was sentenced to life in prison, then pardoned when DNA evidence showed he was not guilty of murder.
Hunt says was one juror vote away from getting the death penalty.
"If that one vote wasn't there, I'd have been executed 12 years ago," Hunt said.
Together, Hunt and Gell are joining to fight for a moratorium on executions. They both say the system is broken, and until it is fixed, North Carolina should stop killing death row prisoners.
"I have a strong feeling there are others who are innocent on death row. I'm not going to say there's 50 or 40, but if there's just one, we need to find him," Gell said.
Tuesday, Gell spoke with legislators before an appearance with Hunt. The men say they make a strong case to lawmakers who will need to vote for a moratorium.
"You can look at me and Alan Gell and you see human beings, actual people; you don't see statistics or numbers," Hunt said.
The push for a moratorium came up short last session, but both Hunt and Gell are confident they will get the votes this time around.
The decision will impact a lot of people -- there are currently 190 prisoners on North Carolina's death row.
Since 1977, the state has put to 31 prisoners to death.