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Ronnie Long, Convicted Of 1976 Rape, Will Be Freed, Lawyer Says

SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons
Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

The attorney for a North Carolina man who has spent 44 years in prison for a rape he says he didn't commit will be freed.

The Charlotte Observer reported that Ronnie Long's attorney shared the news via Twitter on Wednesday.

“The state said it will ask the district court to enter a writ vacating Ronnie’s conviction. In short, Ronnie Long is coming home!” lawyer Jamie Lau wrote.

This is a huge step and freedom is on the horizon. It's a credit to the @NCAGO's that it also wants to move quickly. And, while I know criticism will head its way, today @NCAGO acted in the interest of justice.— Jamie Lau (@LauDurham) August 26, 2020

Lau said it will take some time for the legal process to play out. But he said it “will lead to Ronnie’s freedom.”

"He is grateful, overwhelmed, and looks forward to reuniting with his loved ones,” the attorney wrote.

Earlier this week, a federal appeals court had granted a new hearing for Long. A judge had criticized North Carolina for defending Long’s conviction despite the possibility that investigators withheld evidence.

A motion filed by North Carolina’s Attorney General’s Office said that “interests of justice call for immediately remanding the case to the district court.”

Long was a 20-year-old Black man living in Concord when he was accused of raping a white woman. Long’s attorneys have said that more than 40 fingerprints collected from the scene were never shared and did not match Long’s. Semen samples also were never disclosed to the defense. They later disappeared.

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