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Wrongfully convicted Wilson man freed after four decades in prison

Ken Smith, WRAL anchor/reporter, & Matthew Burns, WRAL.com senior producer/politics editorMay 24, 2019

Five months after a federal appeals court threw out his murder conviction, and more than 40 years after he was sentenced to death, Charles Ray Finch was freed Thursday.

A federal appeals court ruled in January that Finch was denied a fair trial because of a flawed lineup law enforcement used to obtain an eyewitness identification of Finch as the suspected killer.

With the state unlikely to retry the case – Wilson County District Attorney Robert Evans has 30 days to formally announce his decision – U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle on Thursday granted Finch his freedom.

Finch, now 81 and in failing health, was wheeled out of Greene Correctional Institution in Maury into a waiting minivan at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday to take him to a reunion with his family. He told them he wanted a home-cooked dinner with all the fixings, so they went to eat at Parker’s Barbecue in Wilson.

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