On September 9-10, 2019, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission held a hearing in State v. Kenneth Leon Evans, 93 CRS 2261-2263 (Franklin County). On April 7, 1995, Kenneth Evans was found guilty, after a jury trial, related to the kidnapping of Euther Ray Manning. Evans’ complete convictions in the case were First Degree Kidnapping, Second Degree Burglary, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Larceny. Evans appealed his conviction for Second Degree Burglary. The North Carolina Court of Appeals vacated that conviction and remanded it for entry of judgment as a conviction of Felonious Breaking or Entering.
During the hearing, the Commission’s executive director, Lindsey Guice Smith, presented the case to the Commissioners. The Commission’s lead investigators on this case were Grant Staff Attorney Catherine Matoian and Grant Legal Investigator Mackenzie Myers. After carefully considering the evidence, the Commission 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 of the Supreme Court of North Carolina will appoint a panel of three superior court judges to hear the case in Franklin County.
The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission is a state agency charged with investigating post-conviction claims of factual innocence. The agency was created by the General Assembly in 2006 and began operations in 2007. The Commission is the first and only of its kind in the country. Since 2007, the Commission has conducted investigations that have resulted in the exoneration of 12 individuals and over 2,600 claims have been submitted to the agency.
For more information, please contact the Commission’s Executive Director, Lindsey Guice Smith, at 919-890-1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Commission’s website at www.innocencecommisson-nc.gov.