On September 28-29, 2020, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission (NCIIC) held a hearing in State v. Coatney Williams, 08 CRS 1057; 08 CRS 1059; 08 CRS 1065-66; 09 CRS 83; 09 CRS 85 (Northampton County).
The case arises from crimes committed on December 29, 2007. On July 15, 2010, Coatney Williams was convicted, after a jury trial, of attempted murder; robbery; burglary; larceny of firearms, which was consolidated with assault with a deadly weapon intent to kill; and larceny after breaking and entering, which was consolidated with possession of stolen goods.
On appeal, the North Carolina Court of Appeals vacated Mr. Williams’ judgments for felony larceny after breaking and entering, larceny of a firearm, and felony possession of stolen goods and remanded the case for resentencing on the assault with deadly a weapon with intent to kill. Mr. Williams was sentenced to a range of approximately 42 to 52 years arising from this crime.
During the hearing, NCIIC Executive Director Lindsey Guice Smith, presented the case to the Commissioners. The Commission’s lead investigators on this case were Staff Attorneys Julie Bridenstine and Brian Ziegler. After carefully considering the evidence, the Commission unanimously concluded in that there was sufficient evidence of factual innocence to merit judicial review. This case was referred forward for a hearing before a three-judge panel. Chief Justice Cheri Beasley will appoint a panel of three superior court judges to hear the case in Northampton County.