US man ex­on­er­ated af­ter thirty years on death row

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

A man in Alabama who has been on death row for nearly 30 years for mur­der and rob­bery charges will be re­leased af­ter his case was dis­missed, lawyers said Thurs­day.

An­thony Ray Hin­ton will walk free Fri­day af­ter spend­ing close to three decades in jail over the 1985 mur­der of two men in two sep­a­rate restau­rant hold-ups.

Jef­fer­son County Cir­cuit Court Judge Laura Petro dis­missed all charges against Hin­ton af­ter his lawyers from the Equal Jus­tice Ini­tia­tive ar­gued there was not enough ev­i­dence link­ing him to the crimes.

“We are thrilled that Mr. Hin­ton will fi­nally be re­leased be­cause he has un­nec­es­sar­ily spent years on Alabama’s death row when ev­i­dence of his in­no­cence was clearly pre­sented,” said his chief at­tor­ney Bryan Stevenson.

Hin­ton, who was 29 at the time of the crime, is one of the long­est serv­ing death row pris­on­ers in Alabama his­tory and among the long­est serv­ing con­demned pris­on­ers to be freed, ac­cord­ing to EJI.

Hin­ton was charged af­ter two restau­rant man­agers were shot dead in a rob­bery at a fast-food restau­rant in Birm­ing­ham, Alabama.

Po­lice

did

not

find

eye­wit- nesses or fin­ger­prints ev­i­dence, ac­cord­ing to EJI.

That same year, an­other restau­rant was held up at gun point and the manager was shot and se­ri­ously in­jured.

The manager iden­ti­fied Hin­ton as the sus­pect, though Hin­ton said he was at work at the time 15 miles (24 kilo­me­ters) away.

Po­lice seized a gun owned by Hin­ton’s mother and said it was used in all three crimes.

Stevenson said Hin­ton, who is black, was wrongly con­victed in part be­cause the color of his skin.

“Race, poverty, in­ad­e­quate legal as­sis­tance, and pros­e­cu­to­rial in­dif­fer­ence to in­no­cence con­spired to cre­ate a text­book ex­am­ple of injustice,” Stevenson said.

Hin­ton has main­tained his in­no­cence dur­ing three decades in pri­son.

Foren­sic ex­perts, in­clud­ing a for­mer FBI agent, ex­am­ined the seized gun and con­cluded it was not used in the crimes.

Judge Petro granted him a new trial last year af­ter the Supreme Court reversed the de­ci­sion of a lower court.

Hin­ton is the 152nd per­son on death row to be cleared since 1973 and the sec­ond to be ex­on­er­ated in 2015, ac­cord­ing to the Death Penalty In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter.

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