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Frank Stasio's Fondest Shows: 19 Years Wrongfully Imprisoned: Meet Darryl Hunt

A bespectacled middle-aged Black man with an ear-ring speaks and looks off camera
National Registry of Exonerations

Darryl Hunt served 19 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit. The crime committed against him by the state — his wrongful conviction and wrongful imprisonment — stands as one of the most egregious examples of the injustice built into our penal system.

Hunt was accused in the 1984 rape and murder of Deborah Sykes, a copy editor at The Sentinel, a former Winston-Salem newspaper. Hunt was found guilty in Sykes' stabbing death despite the lack of a murder weapon or any physical evidence linking him to the crime. Despite two trials, no physical evidence, questionable witnesses and a deeply-flawed police investigation, Hunt was still unable to get a new trial. It wasn't until DNA linked another man to the crime that the real murderer was found and subsequently confessed.

After he was released, Hunt created a nonprofit called The Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice. Twelve years after his release from prison, he was found dead of an apparent suicide.

As host Frank Stasio reflected on his tenure with the State of Things, the story of Darryl Hunt was one that stuck with him. Stasio spoke with Hunt in July 2007, and Hunt was joined in studio that day by his longtime attorney Mark Rabil.

View the complete list of Frank's fondest shows airing December 2020.

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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