Gov. Cooper grants pardon to man wrongly convicted for murder in 1976

Charles Finch

Charles Ray Finch talks about his years in prison in this photo from September 2015. A federal court ruling could lead to Finch’s release. Brad Coville | Times

RALEIGH, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday granted a Pardon of Innocence for Charles Ray Finch of Wilson, who was convicted in 1975 of a crime he did not commit.

After 43 years in prison, the former death row inmate was freed in 2019 after a wrongful murder conviction.

Finch’s pardon application was thoroughly reviewed by the Office of Executive Clemency, the Office of the General Counsel and the governor.

“I have carefully reviewed Charles Ray Finch’s case and am granting him a Pardon of Innocence. Mr. Finch and others who have been wrongly convicted deserve to have that injustice fully and publicly acknowledged,” said Cooper.

Read the full pardon order for Charles Ray Finch.

This pardon makes Finch eligible to file a claim under North Carolina law, which allows compensation to persons wrongly convicted of felonies.

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