The governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper has granted a pardon of innocence to a man imprisoned since 1995 for two murders he didn’t commit.
The man identified as Darryl Anthony Howard, now 59, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder as well as first-degree arson for the 1991 deaths of 13-year-old Nishonda and her mother Doris Washington, 29.
He was sentenced to two consecutive 40-year terms.The victims also appeared to have been sexually assaulted.
In 2009, Howard’s attorneys tested rape kits related to the case and found new evidence that pointed to other suspects.
While his sentence was thrown out in 2014, Howard remained in prison through August 2016 after DNA evidence proved he was not involved in the crimes.
He has now been exonerated and freed.
According to AP reports, Howard can now file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission to receive up to $750,000 in restitution.
This is Governor Cooper’s sixth pardon of innocence since taking office in 2017, the governor’s office said.
“It is important to continue our efforts to reform the justice system and to acknowledge wrongful convictions,” Cooper said.