NC Appeals Judge's Order For A New Trial Two Decades Into Darryl Howard's Prison Sentence

May 29, 2014

A Durham Superior Court Judge has ordered a new trial for a man who has been locked up for two decades.
Credit Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

The state of North Carolina is appealing a judge's order for a new trial for Darryl Howard. Howard has been in prison for 19 years for the 1995 murder of Doris Washington and her daughter, Nishonda.

Judge Orlando Hudson cited new evidence and misconduct by former Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong. Nifong failed to provide Howard's attorney with a memo from a tipster who said members of a New York drug gang raped and killed Washington and her daughter. DNA evidence found on Washington's body matched another felon’s, not Howard's.

The non-profit Innocence Project hired Charlotte attorney Jim Cooney to represent Howard.

“We're obviously still working the case very hard. We believe the Durham Police Department ought to reopen this case and start doing the investigation that should have been done, you know, 20 years ago.”

Cooney says the judge's order for a new trial has made him optimistic that Howard will be exonerated, though he says the appeals process could take a long time. 

The Durham District Attorney's office declined to comment on the case