The news is out: [Ronnie Long, a 64-year-old Black man wrongly accused of rape and burglary charges in 1976, was finally freed from prison after 44 years behind bars in North Carolina. When Long was released from the Albemarle Correctional Institute on Thursday, he declared that “It’s been a long road. But it’s over with. It’s over with now.”
When he was 20-years-old, Long was charged with the rape of 54-year-old Sarah Bost in North Carolina alongside burglary charges connected to the case; he was notably convicted by an all-white jury. Despite the scene of the crime containing hair and fingerprints not matching Long’s own DNA, he was sentenced to 80 years in prison by the state.
But Long never failed to maintain his innocence during his decades in prison, and it was a move that benefited him down the road. As it turns out, Concord police may have tampered with evidence that could clear long’s name: According to his attorney, 40 finger prints and a semen sample that were collected but never shared all did not match Long. Stephanie Thacker, a U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, called the hiding of the evidence following his trial and sentence “a troubling and striking pattern of deliberate police suppression of material evidence.”]
The cops involved will not be charged.