NC: DNA Frees Another Wrongly Convicted Inmate
Joseph Abbitt, age 49, was sentenced to two life terms for murder and rape. He served 14 years.
Today, he leaves prison a free man, as DNA saved by the Winston-Salem police department but only re-tested recently, has proven he was not the culprit.
A joint motion to vacate the convictions against Abbitt filed by the Forsyth County District Attorney's Office and the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence is scheduled to be heard at noon today by Judge A. Moses Massey in Forsyth Superior Court.
...The decision to file the motion to set aside the convictions came quickly after DNA evidence collected in the case was retested by the State Bureau of Investigation and LabCorp of Research Triangle Park. The genetic profile the scientists generated "conclusively eliminated the defendant as the offender."
It's another case of mistaken eye-witness identification. What's next for Mr. Abbitt?
[O]nce Abbitt is exonerated, he can apply for a pardon from Gov. Bev Perdue. And he is also eligible for $700,000 compensation from the state -- $50,000 a year for every year he was wrongly imprisoned.
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