Ronnie Long, a Black man who served 44 years in prison after he was wrongly convicted of raping a White woman in the 1970s, has settled with a central North Carolina city and the state of North Carolina, his lawyers said Tuesday.
Long, now 68, received two life sentences following a trial where an all-White jury in Cabarrus County, Concord, found him guilty of burglary and raping Sarah Judson Bost, then 54, at knifepoint in her home on the evening of April 25, 1976. Long was 21 at the time.
However, Long never committed the crimes, and in August 2020, a federal appeals court ordered a new hearing for Long in his effort to obtain relief. Almost immediately, his conviction was vacated, and Long was released from prison. Gov. Roy Cooper later that year granted him a full pardon for innocence.
WRONGFULLY CONVICTED MAN WALKS FREE AFTER MORE THAN 2 DECADES AS PODCAST SHED LIGHT ON HIS MURDER CASE
Long’s attorneys, from a wrongful convictions clinic at Duke University’s law school, said that no physical evidence tied Long to the rape and burglary — and that more than 40 fingerprints collected from the scene were never shared and did not match Long’s. Semen samples also were never disclosed to the defense.