A man who spent several years in jail is now out of prison for the time being. BBC News is reporting that a North Carolina man has been released after officials deemed his trial unfair. Johnny Small, now 43 years old, spent 28 years in prison after he was found guilty for the murder of Pam Dreher in 1988. He was 16 years old when he was convicted of the crime.
Earlier this week, Judge W Douglas Parsons ruled that the evidence against Small was not great enough to convict him of the crime. BBC News is also reporting that Judge Parsons found that the police involved in Small’s case withheld evidence during the investigation and that witnesses lied during the trial that took place in 1989. Throughout the entire process, Small still claims that he is innocent. The testimonies of David Bollinger and Nina Raiford have all been proven false. These are very important as they place Small at the scene of the crime on the night Dreher was fatally shot in her store.
While Small is enjoying his time outside of prison, he is having a hard time adapting to life outside of jail. Until prosecutors decide if another trial will be held or if the charges will be dropped, the man is staying with friends while under electronic house arrest. Small gave BBC News a statement on how he is adjusting.
“There’s a lot I have to adapt to. I don’t know how to function. I mean, when I came into it (prison) I was still a kid and in a way I still got a kid’s state of mind.”
Small and his story are the perfect examples of the flaws in the American justice system. Whether or not he is found guilty later on, it is clear now that Small’s trial was unfair. Because of this, a potentially innocent man has spent most of his life in prison. As Small and his story continue to develop, it will be interesting to see how the justice system will fix this problems and others similar to them.
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