Durham DA won't retry man who served 21 years for double murder he says he didn't commit

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Durham District Attorney Roger Echols says he will not retry Darryl Howard who was set free Wednesday after spending 21 years behind bars for the murders of a mother and daughter that he says he did not commit.


Howard was convicted in 1995 of strangling Doris Washington and her 13-year-old daughter in 1991. The 54-year-old was serving an 80-year sentence in medium security at a Warren County prison.

Judge Orlando Hudson ordered him freed after hearing testimony on whether evidence could have proved Howard's innocence was withheld by prosecutors and police.

Howard alleged misconduct by police and ex-district attorney Mike Nifong, who was disbarred over the Duke University lacrosse case.

Nifong had been expected to testify at the hearing, but prosecutors decided not to appeal the judge's order tossing the conviction, which meant Nifong did not have to take the stand and cleared the way for Howard to be freed.
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