Innocence commission hears Durham man’s case

Jun. 02, 2014 @ 05:01 PM

The case of a Durham man convicted in 1976 in the slaying of a Butner convenience store clerk is being heard this week by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission.
Willie Henderson Womble, 60, was sentenced to 80 years in prison for the Nov. 18, 1975, crime, which happened during a robbery in the Granville County town.
A co-defendant Joseph Perry wrote a letter to the commission saying Womble wasn’t involved in the crime. Perry also was convicted and sentenced to 80 years in prison and is still incarcerated.
At Monday’s hearing in Raleigh, Perry testified that he decided to step forward after another man who committed the slaying with him died. Perry said he resented Womble because he believed his testimony helped convict him. But he said he felt it’s time to do “the right thing.”
If the majority of commission members decide that Womble’s case has merit, it goes to a special three-judge panel for review.
The Innocence Commission is a state-run agency that investigates post-conviction claims of innocence. Since it was created in 2007, it has received more than 1,600 claims that have resulted in four people being exonerated for crimes.