DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A man who served nearly 44 years in prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit has received compensation from the state of North Carolina.
Ronnie Long told The Charlotte Observer that it’s not nearly enough.
Long received $750,000. It is by law the state’s top compensation for victims of wrongful incarceration.
Long’s attorney, Duke University law professor Jamie Lau, said the amount is inadequate for people who were imprisoned for decades.
Long was convicted of raping the widow of a Cannon Mills executive in 1976 by an all-white jury in Concord. Potentially exculpatory evidence was either intentionally withheld from his defense team or disappeared. And there was a tampered pool of potential jurors.
A federal court overturned Long’s conviction. He was released from prison in September. And he was pardoned by Gov. Roy Cooper.
“Fair? What’s fair?,” Long told newspaper. “Ask yourself that question when these people took away your 20s, your 30s, your 40s, your 50s and they started in on your 60s.”
Long said his mother and father both asked if he was home in the last moments of their lives. He walked free six weeks after his mother’s death.