September 23rd, 2011
Last Thursday, two North Carolina men walked out of prison for the first time in a decade. Kenneth Kagonyera and Robert Wilcoxson pled guilty to the murder of Walter Bowman in 2000 despite maintaining their innocence. Attorneys for the two men argue that Kagonyera and Wilcoxson pled guilty to avoid life sentences; they were sentenced to 12-15 years in state prison. The case was investigated by the North Carolina Innocence Commission, a state agency including judges, attorneys, and a member of the public who review post-conviction claims of innocence. The North Carolina Innocence Commission, the only such body in the country, found enough evidence to cast doubt on the men’s convictions this past April, including DNA results that implicated others. This is the fourth case heard by the North Carolina Innocence Commission.