Durham -- A Durham man who has been behind bars since 1998 walked free amid questions about evidence in his case that includes the work of the SBI.
Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson ordered the release of Derrick M. Allen, 31, after a 30-minute hearing in Durham. He is released on an unsecured bond. He is awaiting a new trial, which has not been set.
Allen was arrested in 1998 on charges of murder and a sexual assault of a two-year-old child. He had always said he was innocent, but, facing the death penalty, he entered an Alford guilty plea, which means he acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him without admitting guilt in 1999. He immediately began fighting for a new trial and was successful last year.