Darryl Hunt, exonerated in murder case, found dead in car

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Sunday, March 13, 2016
Darryl Hunt
Darryl Hunt
wtvd-image courtesy WGHP

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Darryl Hunt, a man who was exonerated of the murder of a Winston-Salem newspaper editor, has been found dead inside a car, according to authorities.

In a statement, police said that officers received a call early Sunday of a person believed to be dead inside a car on University Parkway, near the Wake Forest University campus. Officers found a man identified as Hunt unresponsive inside the car.

At his original trial, Hunt was convicted of first-degree murder and barely escaped getting the death penalty. The conviction was overturned, and he was tried again in Catawba County in 1990, and again he was convicted.

After 19 years in prison, Hunt was exonerated in February 2004 after DNA evidence led police to Willard Brown, who confessed to the killing. After he was exonerated, Hunt was pardoned by then-Gov. Mike Easley. He was awarded a settlement of more than $1.6 million in 2007 and founded the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, an advocacy group for the wrongfully convicted.

On Saturday, police issued a missing person notice for Hunt, who suffered from a medical condition that required treatment and at that point had not been seen for nine days.