Medical examiners released an autopsy report Friday that said Darryl Hunt, 51, who was imprisoned for more than 19 years for a murder he did not commit, died of a “gunshot wound of the torso” when he was found dead in a car in Winston-Salem March 13.
Winston-Salem police previously said Hunt apparently committed suicide.
According to initial investigative reports, the report said, Hunt “was found in a pickup truck with a .38 caliber revolver on his legs. The doors of the truck were locked and the ignition was still on, although the engine was not running. He had been missing approximately nine days prior to being found and a missing person alert had been put in place. He had left a note with a friend and a journal entry was found in the vehicle."
In 1984 at age 19, Hunt was charged with the rape and murder of a newspaper copy editor. The case was racially charged. Hunt was black and the murder victim was white.
Deborah Sykes, Winston-Salem Sentinel copy editor, raped and murdered on her way to work in 1984.Hunt spoke against the death penalty for years after his exoneration in 2004, exhibiting a calm that made an impression on friends and strangers.
He traversed the the state with People of Faith Against the Death Penalty and traveled overseas with the documentary “The Trials of Darryl Hunt,” speaking about abolishing the death penalty and improving the justice system.
Hunt had been diagnosed with cancer.