NC Innocence Case Hinges on Mentally Ill Man’s Confession

Wake County News

James Blackmon

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A three-judge panel in North Carolina determining whether a convicted killer is innocent will hear arguments about the credibility of a murder confession from the man, who wore a Superman-like cape and compared himself to Dracula.

When the hearing starts Tuesday in Raleigh, attorneys for 66-year-old James Blackmon will argue he should be declared innocent in the 1979 stabbing death of Helena Peyton, who was a student at what’s now St. Augustine’s University.

In court filings, attorneys say Blackmon’s false confession is the only evidence against him. Prosecutors say courts already found Blackmon competent to stand trial.

The hearing is the final step in North Carolina’s innocence process, where the state-funded Innocence Inquiry Commission hears claims of innocence and recommends the ones it finds credible to a judicial panel.

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