Darryl Hunt, who spent 19 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, was found dead in a car in Winston-Salem, N.C., early Sunday, the Charlotte Observer reports. Officers got a call about a person believed to be dead in a car near the Wake Forest University campus, where they found Hunt unresponsive.
In 1984 at age 19, Hunt was charged with the rape and murder of a newspaper copy editor. Hunt was exonerated in February 2004 after DNA evidence led police to Willard Brown, who later confessed to the murder. Hunt was exonerated and pardoned by then-North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley and was also awarded a settlement of more than $1.6 million in 2007. Hunt then went on to found the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, which is an advocacy group for those wrongfully convicted.
As the Observer notes, Hunt traveled across his home state with People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, and even traveled overseas for the documentary The Trials of Darryl Hunt to speak about abolishing the death penalty and improving the justice system.
Hunt's experiences, however, haunted him, the Observer notes. He was reportedly prone to using ATMs daily—not really just to get money but so that he could create a time-stamped receipt and image of his location.
Hunt, the Observer notes, had recently been diagnosed with cancer, but a cause of death has not been released.
Read more at the Charlotte Observer.