Wilmington 10

A group of people who say they were wrongfully convicted of arson more than forty years ago in Wilmington are asking Governor Bev Perdue for an official pardon before she leaves office. The “Wilmington Ten,” as they are known, served prison time for an arson that took place as race riots inflamed the city. The convictions were later overturned by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. But the state of North Carolina has not pardoned the group.

In 1972, 10 young activists in Wilmington were convicted of arson and conspiracy related to racial violence. Their conviction immediately became a worldwide cause. Now, legal notes from the original prosecutor of the case raise more questions about the fairness of the trial. The Wilmington 10 are seeking to clear their names with a pardon from outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue.

The head of the state's NAACP is asking Governor Perdue to pardon ten activists who were convicted of arson in the midst of racial tensions in Wilmington in 1972. The "Wilmington Ten," as they're known, were set free in 1980. That was after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions, saying the prosecutor and the trial judge had violated the defendants' constitutional rights. But the group has never received an official pardon from the state.