Ungodly Politics

"Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh." - Al Swearingen

Wednesday, February 18, 2004  

From North Carolina:

A prisoner taken off death row after a judge ruled prosecutors withheld key evidence in his murder trial was found not guilty Wednesday in a second trial.

Alan Gell, 28, has spent a decade behind bars in the 1995 murder of retired truck driver Allen Ray Jenkins, who was shot twice during a robbery. After the verdict, Gell hugged his attorneys and his mother wept in the courtroom.

He was immediately allowed to go free. When asked what he was going to do, he responded: "Go home, where I should have been years ago."


Also withheld by prosecutors were statements from more than a dozen witnesses who said they saw Jenkins alive after April 3. Gell was either out of state or in jail on a car-theft charge from April 4 until after Jenkins' body was found April 14.

During the retrial, three scientific experts testified that Jenkins' body and the scene of his killing were not consistent with the prosecution's argument that he was killed 11 days prior.


Gell's acquittal came less than two weeks after Darryl Hunt was cleared of all charges in a 1984 rape and killing in Winston-Salem. Hunt, who was found guilty of the murder of Deborah Sykes at two jury trials, was freed in December after a DNA test pinned the crime on another man, who has since confessed.

On that same day, Feb. 6, the state Supreme Court overturned two death sentences, ordering a new trial in one case and a new sentencing in the other.

Once again: the death penalty is wrong. It's barbaric, and there's no way to make things right if a mistake is made.

posted by lazarus | 10:28 | |
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