This award winning documentary airs tonight on at 8 pm on HBO.
In 1984, Deborah Sykes, a young white newspaper reporter, was assaulted, raped, sodomized and stabbed to death just blocks from where she worked in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Though no physical evidence implicated him, Darryl Hunt, a 19-year-old black man, was ultimately convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison.
Ten years later, DNA testing proved that Hunt did not rape Sykes, and cast serious doubts on his involvement in her murder, but he spent another decade behind bars for a crime he did not commit. The eye-opening HBO documentary THE TRIALS OF DARRYL HUNT tells his riveting story – and the story of those who fought to clear his name.
As Hunt's story unfolds, it becomes a textbook example of how the presumption of innocence can be subverted when a city's need to solve a gruesome crime, fed by sensational media coverage, leads to a rush to judgment that validates a flimsy case. In addition to clearing their own client, the defense team is ultimately instrumental in identifying the real killer, who is now behind bars.
Today the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice , a nonprofit organization in Winston-Salem founded by Darryl Hunt helps others by:
• Providing assistance to individuals who have been wrongfully incarcerated.
• Helping ex-offenders obtain the skills, guidance, and support they need as they return to life outside the prison system.
• Advocating for changes in the justice system so innocent people won’t spend time in prison.