A man that was wrongfully convicted of rape has been released from jail, he spent 44 years behind the bars for a crime that he never committed.
The incident happened in North Carolina.
In 1976, Ronnie Long was handed a life sentence after being found guilty of burglary and rape of a 54-year-old white woman.
His case was vacated after the state of North Carolina filed a motion in federal court opposing his conviction.
US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephanie Thacker was the one that gave justice to Long, who is now 64.
Judge Thacker said Long was convicted of a “trickle of post-trial disclosures has unearthed a troubling and striking pattern of deliberate police suppression of material evidence.”
An all-white jury found him guilty.
The evidence from the scene, which included semen samples and fingerprints did not match Long. They were deliberately withheld by law enforcement, US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephanie Thacker said.
The white woman, who was not named, said that a perpetrator attacked her in her home, assaulted her, and fled.
The incident happened on April 25, 1976.
Long’s attorney, Jamie Lau, said that every witness for the prosecution was white, and every witness for the defense was Black.
During an interview with CNN, Jamie Lau said:
Because of the deceit that occurred at trial, Ronnie and his counsel at the time didn’t have the benefit of that evidence to present to the jury. So he’s been wrongly incarcerated for 44 years. The cards were heavily stacked against him and a large part of that was the racial dynamics in North Carolina in the South, and in particular Concord, North Carolina, in 1976.
The release of Long from jail does not mean that his charges have been dismissed. It is reported that the decision will be taken by the lower courts.
Lau said that there is no evidence that Long committed the crime.
Long went on a walk after he was released from prison.