Possibly Innocent Death Row Inmate Granted New Trial

June 17, 2009

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.)

Pilgrimage, Day Three

June 17, 2009

The Sojourners for Abolition and Reconciliation have another 20-mile day ahead of them.  Today they are walking from Wilson to Rocky Mount, continuing their trek to raise awareness about the effect of the death penalty on both victim and offender families.

88% of People Who Know What They’re Talking About Say Death Penalty Does Not Deter Crime

June 17, 2009

A new survey of top criminologists reveals that the vast majority of them believe, based on factual research and not personal opinion, that the death penalty does not deter crime.  In addition, 87% of those surveyed believe that the abolition of the death penalty would not have any significant effect on murder rates.

Other study findings include:

  • 75% of respondents agree that legislative debates about the death penalty distract lawmakers from focusing on real solutions to crime problems
  • According to 75% of respondents, research shows that death penalty states do not have lower homicide rates than neighboring non-death-penalty states
  • Only 9% of criminologists stated that the death penalty significantly reduces the number of homicides
  • Only 3% found evidence that executions deter future homicides


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