DURHAM, N.C.--()--After proclaiming his innocence for nearly 25 years, Willie Grimes will finally have the chance to prove it.
“Willie has waited a very long time to have the opportunity to prove his innocence. He’s thankful that day is finally here.”
On October 1st, in Newton, North Carolina, the NC Center on Actual Innocence, along with co-counsel Robert Campbell of Taylorsville, will represent Grimes before a three-judge panel—a panel that holds the power to exonerate him. Grimes, who was paroled in May, served 24 years in prison for rape, but has never wavered from his claim of innocence.
The Center, which investigates credible claims of innocence on behalf of convicted felons in the State, worked tirelessly but fruitlessly on Grimes’ behalf for years—until a banana broke the case. In 2011, the Innocence Inquiry Commission ordered a review of the police investigation files, uncovering fingerprints taken from a banana at the crime scene. According to the victim, the rapist took bananas and an apple from her fruit bowl before leaving her home. The fingerprints match a man with an extensive criminal record.
“Willie Grimes is as gentle as a lamb. He was then, and he is now,” said Christine Mumma, Executive Director of the NC Center on Actual Innocence. “Willie has waited a very long time to have the opportunity to prove his innocence. He’s thankful that day is finally here.”
The three-judge panel must find unanimously in order to exonerate Grimes. If it does, he will automatically receive a Pardon of Innocence from Governor Perdue.