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Two NC Men Declared Innocent After Decade in Prison

In Asheville, NC, a three judge panel declared two men innocent of the murder charge to which they had confessed and ordered their immediate release.

Lawyers for Kenneth Kagonyera and Robert Wilcoxson stated that their clients had not only maintained their innocence despite the guilty pleas and had plead to Second Degree Murder only to avoid either the death penalty or the possibility of life in prison without parole.

Kagonyera and Wilcoxson were convicted of the shotgun killing of Walter Bowman, 51, in Fairview, North Carolina. Bowman was shot in the abdomen and died after three men wearing bandanas and gloves burst into his home on September 18, 2000.

Particularly appalling is that in 2003,  a federal prisoner confessed to participating in the home invasion with two men who were not Kagonyera and Wilcoxson but there is no evidence that any furtehr action was taken by law enforcement officials following this admission.

The two men were cleared after the bandannas used during the robbery were tested and found not to contain any evidence linking them to the crime. The DNA, obtained in March,2007, did link the man named in the federal prisoner’s confession to the crime and, interestingly, the same man was also named in an early Crime Stoppers tip.

How many more innocent men and women are sitting in prison because of our “justice system”?

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