N.C. man cleared of 1984 murder dead from likely suicide: police

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 16, 2016 2:10 PM

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Reuters) - A black North Carolina man exonerated in 2004 after 19 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said on Wednesday.

Darryl Hunt, who was 51 and had been reported missing, was found dead inside a locked car in Winston-Salem on Sunday.

A handgun was located near Hunt's body and an autopsy showed a single gunshot wound to his torso, Winston-Salem police said in a statement.

Detectives said they found no evidence of a struggle but will continue to investigate.

Twice convicted in the 1984 death of 25-year-old newspaper copy editor Deborah Sykes, who was white, Hunt was freed from prison after DNA evidence from the crime scene was matched to another man who later confessed to the killing.

He became an advocate for criminal justice reform after his 2004 exoneration.

Friends told the Winston-Salem Journal that Hunt suffered from advanced cancer and had recently divorced.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Tom Brown)