When the final gavel clapped in a rural southern courtroom in the summer of 1988, Willie J. Grimes, a gentle spirit with no record of violence, was shocked and devastated to be convicted of first-degree rape and sentenced to life imprisonment. Here is the story of this everyman and his extraordinary quarter-century-long journey to freedom, told in breathtaking and sympathetic detail, from the botched evidence and suspect testimony that led to his incarceration to the tireless efforts to prove his innocence and the identity of the true perpetrator. These were spearheaded by his relentless champion, Christine Mumma, a cofounder of North Carolina’s Innocence Inquiry Commission. That commission–unprecedented at its inception in 2006–remains a model organization unlike any other in the country, and one now responsible for a growing number of exonerations.
The ongoing author series is offered by the Kingston Public Library in partnership with the Kingston Council on Aging and the Kingston Public Library Foundation. The series is sponsored by WATD 95.9 FM Radio. Programs are held at the Kingston Council on Aging, 30 Evergreen Street and will last from 7:00 – 9:00 PM.