ABOVE PHOTO: Connie Tindall, a member of the Wilmington Ten, speaks at a news conference outside the State Capitol building in Raleigh in which the group called on Gov. Beverly Perdue to pardon them, in this May 2012 photo. Sitting (from left to right) are Wilmington Ten members Willie Earl Vereen; Benjamin Chavis Jr.; James McKoy; Marvin Patrick; and Willie Moore, the brother of late Wilmington 10 member Wayne Moore. Outgoing North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue issued pardons Monday, Dec, 31, 2012 to the Wilmington 10, a group wrongly convicted 40 years ago in a notorious Civil Rights-era prosecution that led to accusations of the state holding political prisoners.
(AP Photo/Wilmington Star-News, Patrick Gannon)
Outgoing North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue has issued pardons to the Wilmington 10, a group wrongly convicted in a notorious Civil Rights-era prosecution.
Perdue issued a pardon of innocence Monday for the nine black men and one white woman who combined were sentenced to nearly 300 years in prison. They were convicted in the 1971 firebombing of a grocery store during three days of violence that included the police shooting of a black teenager.
The pardon means the state no longer thinks the group committed a crime.
The case’s three key witnesses recanted their testimony. Amnesty International and other groups portrayed the Wilmington 10 as political prisoners.
In November, NAACP state leaders said newly uncovered notes showed the prosecutor tried to keep blacks off the case’s first jury.
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