North Carolina, 1984. A brutal murder leaves a white woman dead, and a young black man accused. This exclusive portrait of a harrowing wrongful conviction offers a provocative and haunting examination of a community – and a criminal justice system – subject to racial bias and tainted by fear.
The Trials of Darryl Hunt (2006) documents a brutal rape/murder in the American South, and offers a deeply personal story of a wrongfully convicted man, Darryl Hunt, who spent twenty years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
In 1984, a young white newspaper reporter, Deborah Sykes, was raped, sodomized and stabbed to death just blocks from where she worked in Winston-Salem, NC.
Based on an ID made by a former Klan member, a 19-year-old black man, Darryl Hunt, was charged. No physical evidence linked Hunt to the crime. Hunt was convicted by an all white jury, and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1994, DNA testing cleared Hunt, yet he would spend another ten years behind bars.
The film chronicles this capital case from 1984 through 2004. With personal narratives and exclusive footage from two decades, the film frames the judicial and emotional responses to this chilling crime – and the implications surrounding Hunt’s conviction – against a backdrop of class and racial bias in America.
This unique look at one man’s loss and redemption challenges the assumption that all Americans have the right to unbiased justice.