David Gainey has been on North Carolina’s death row since 1999, facing the ultimate punishment for a crime his brother may well have committed. Thanks to Judge Gregory Weeks, he will now have a chance to prove his innocence.
Harnett County prosecutor Peter Strickland had evidence that it was Michael Gainey, not David Gainey, who killed Dwayne Winfield McNeill in 1998. He hid this information from David Gainey’s defense team, and allowed a prosecution witness to testify falsely about whether anyone else had been linked to the crime. Strickland also concealed evidence that McNeill was seen alive by his grandparents after prosecutors alleged that David Gainey killed him.
David Gainey confessed to killing Dwayne McNeill under pressure from police officers, but David was unable to provide accurate information about the location of the shooting, the time it happened, or the number of times McNeill was shot. Despite this, David Gainey’s trial attorneys failed to obtain an expert in false confessions. The murder weapon was never found and there was no physical evidence linking David Gainey to the shooting.
The court’s order is available here.
(For more information on false confessions, click here. You may think that an innocent person would never confess to a crime they did not commit, but in 25% of cases where the defendant was later fully exonerated by DNA, s/he confessed to police.)