Students join fight to free Kalvin Smith

Students join fight to free Kalvin Smith
February 11
00:00 2016



The students at the three major colleges in Winston-Salem are rallying together to educate the community on the Kalvin Michael Smith case.

On Wednesday, Feb. 10 student representatives from Salem College, Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State universities held a press conference to announce a number of teach-in sessions that are designed to provide citizens with more information on the trial.

Smith is serving up to 29 years for the 1995 assault of Jill Marker at the Silk Plant Forest that caused severe brain injuries and blindness. For the past decade a variety of different community organizations have been advocating for Smith’s release saying that he was wrongly convicted. The students are just the latest to join a large group of organizations that are calling for Attorney General Roy Cooper to free Smith.

Wake Forest Professor of Religion Dr. Stephen Boyd said it is important that the younger generation get involved because they are the voices of the future. He also said the students have been studying the case for months and are excited to carry on the effort.

Boyd also mentioned the students will be partnering with the The Silk Plant Forrest Truth Committee, the Minister’s Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, and the Political

Action Committee to hold a rally and march that will be held Thursday, Feb. 18 on the campus of WSSU.

“The students have really been doing their homework studying the trial and court documents,” he continued. “They are excited and ready to carry on the fight.”

Over the years, Smith has had many appeals denied. The latest appeal in the Smith case involves accusations about the lead detective. According to court papers, Detective Don Williams told his brother Ricky Williams that he believed a white man committed the Silk Plant Forest assault.

Boyd said, although the state continues to deny Smith’s appeals, he remains confident that they have the wrong man in custody. Boyd, who recently released a book discussing the handling of the Darryl Hunt trial entitled “Making Justice Our Business: The Wrongful Conviction of Darryl Hunt and the Work of Faith,” said, “It is sad to see the same thing happening again.”

Hunt was wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of Deborah Sykes, a young white newspaper copy editor in 1984. He served 19 years in prison before he was freed and exonerated of all charges.

“Thirty-three judges denied Darryl Hunt’s appeals and when the DNA came back, they were all wrong and that’s what it is now,” he continued. “The students and this entire community want something done, and that’s what we all deserve.”

For more information on the teach-in sessions or the rally, visit 

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