DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a review of cases (all times local):
Advocates are tackling a massive review of convictions in a North Carolina county where one prosecutor was disbarred for misconduct in the Duke University lacrosse case and another was suspended for ethics violations.
Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols said Thursday he'll cooperate with investigating any innocence claims or questionable prosecutions pointed out by the nonprofit North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence.
Echols and the center's executive director, Chris Mumma, agreed two years ago that they should investigate whether more cases of questionable prosecutorial conduct remained unearthed. The innocence center has for the past two years been quietly culling down hundreds of Durham cases in which people remain behind bars.
Mumma says the center now is investigating about 20 cases.
A North Carolina man is free after serving 21 years in prison for a double murder after a judge ruled he likely didn't commit the crime. Now questions linger about the prosecutor of the case — the former district attorney already disbarred for lying and misconduct in the Duke University lacrosse rape case.
Durham prosecutors on Wednesday opted against fighting Darryl Howard's release based on improved DNA evidence just before having to defend former District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of the case.
The 54-year-old Howard had been serving an 80-year sentence. He was convicted in 1995 for the strangling and sexual assault of 29-year-old Doris Washington and her 13-year-old daughter.
Howard said he was looking forward to building a relationship with the wife who married him three years after he entered prison and seeing his grandchildren.