Darryl Hunt was a 19-year old ninth grade dropout when he was charged with the August 10, 1984 brutal rape and murder of Deborah Sykes, the copy editor for the now defunct Winston-Salem Sentinel evening newspaper. He was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to life in prison. Hunt was again convicted at a retrial, denied by the North Carolina Supreme Court, the 4th District Federal Court in Richmond, Virginia, and the United States Supreme Court.
The Darryl Hunt case polarized the races in the city of Winston-Salem and across the state of North Carolina to unprecedented levels while galvanizing the largest ever citizen mobilization in the history of Winston-Salem. Within the first year of his incarceration, Hunt embraced the religion of Islam at the hands of Imam Khalid Fattah Griggs. Hunt would later emphatically state that, "It was my faith (Islam) that carried me through my years of injustice in the courts and life-threatening incarceration."
After spending almost 19 years in prison, Hunt was finally released on December 24, 2003. He was completely exonerated by the Superior Court of Forsyth County on February 6, 2004. Police investigative procedures were changed in the Winston-Salem Police Department as a direct result of the Darryl Hunt case. He has since started a project, The Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, to help unjustly convicted inmates and persons recently released from incarceration.
The Trials of Darryl Hunt is an award-winning documentary that was 10 years in the making by an independent film maker, Ricki Stern. The movie will be shown on HBO beginning Thursday, April 26, 2007, at 8:00 PM. It was nominated for a Spirit Award at this year's Academy Awards. (Additional showings will be Saturday, April 28, 7:00 PM on HBO Signature; Monday, April 30, 10:05 PM, HBO 2; Tuesday, May 1, 6:00 PM, HBO 2; Wednesday, May 2, 1:45 PM, HBO 2; Wednesday, May 2, 11:30 AM, HBO Signature.
The film documents the almost two-decade long struggle for Hunt's freedom. The involvement of Imam Khalid Fattah Griggs is featured prominently throughout the documentary. Viewers of the Trials of Darryl Hunt will get a glimpse into the awesome potential that faith in Allah, combined with righteous struggle, has to help the human spirit transcend even the most oppressive of conditions.
AlcatrazCell - http://www.flickr.com/photos/kathycsus/353531145/
Kathleen Franklin - http://www.flickr.com/photos/kathycsus/
Darryl Hunt - http://www.flickr.com/photos/rightsatduke/4172808210/
Robin Kirk - http://www.flickr.com/photos/rightsatduke/