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North Carolina attempted-murder suspect maintains innocence

Prisons in North Carolina and across the country are full of convicted inmates who insist they aren't guilty of the crime for which they're serving their time. If the courts took every inmate's word as truth, the nation's correctional facilities wouldn't be as crowded as they are. But there are plenty of cases in which suspects are genuinely wrongly convicted. Some are victims of a mistaken identity. Others are convicted due to thin or faulty evidence and testimony.

Wrongly accused suspects face a tough decision when it comes to their criminal defense. Some choose to take their chances and go to trial, even though they might end up with a longer sentence. One such man was recently accused of committing a violent robbery in Wilmington, North Carolina, though he insists he's been mistaken for someone else. The victim was shot in the head in November 2011. When police found him lying in the road, he was conscious and told officers he'd been robbed. It's not clear whether he specifically identified the suspect, but the man accused says he was at a store a few blocks away at the time of the shooting.

The suspect believes he's been mistaken for another man. He acknowledges that he's committed crimes in the past, including selling heroin, cocaine and marijuana, for which he's been convicted and served time in prison. But he insists he's not a violent person, and that he had no reason to rob or shoot the victim -- a man he went to school with for more than 20 years.

The accused man plans to fight the charges against him. He's been offered a plea deal of 10 years in prison in exchange for admitting to the crime, but he would rather take his chances at trial. In the meantime, he waits in jail for his day in court, missing out on milestones and obligations to his family. He recently missed the birthday of one of his children and his son is scheduled to graduate in June, but the father may miss the big day because of the charges against him.

In cases like these, an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial. Whether or not this man is innocent, no wrongly accused defendant should have to serve time for a crime they didn't commit.

Source: WECT, "In jailhouse interview, accused gunman claims innocence," Ashlea Kosikowski, April 3, 2012

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