NC Judge Rules "No Release" In Case Similar To Alford Jones And Faye Brown

Friday, the NC Supreme court halted the release of two convicted murderers from Eastern Carolina, after the NC Court of Appeals ruled the two should be freed.

As WITN followed the story this week on WITN News at 6:00 p.m., we recapped our conversation withe Governor's office about the latest developments on the controversial inmate release question.

Thursday, the Governor's office told WITN one judge's ruling, like the court of appeals ruling, was not going to be the final deciding factor in this overall issue. The Governor's office said there are other cases in front of other judges that would have impact on the issue.

Below is a news release the Governor's office has sent out on one of those cases.

"Judge Gentry Caudill of Cleveland County on Friday ruled in favor of the state and denied release for Wilbur Folston, one of several inmates sentenced to life in prison in the 1970s whose sentences are in question due to recent court rulings.

Judge Caudill’s ruling directly contradicts Judge Ripley Rand’s decision earlier this week in the cases of inmates Faye Brown and Alford Jones.

In his decision, Judge Caudill ruled that: 'no Secretary of Correction has ever directed good-behavior credits to be applied to calculate an unconditional release date for a life sentence.'

Additionally, the state Supreme Court on Friday afternoon blocked the scheduled release of Brown and Jones and will review the case.

According to news reports the Supreme Court is likely to decide within the next 10 days on a potential hearing.

Governor Perdue believes Judge Caudill’s decision is the correct one as this important issue now moves to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s decision is the most appropriate step as the state seeks a conclusive answer on how to make sure inmates are not released without a proper and thorough review by the Parole Commission.

The bottom line remains: inmates sentenced to life should not be allowed to walk out the prison door without a parole review and appropriate post-release supervision."

--End of release--

Brown is in prison for killing Trooper Tom Davis in Martin County in 1975, while Jones was sent to prison for the murder of a Kinston man, also in 1975.


North Carolina's Supreme Court has temporarily halted the release of two convicted murderers.

The court granted a request from the attorney general's office Friday afternoon, shortly before Alford Jones and Faye Brown were set to go free.

The ruling provides state attorneys with another chance to bring their arguments after two lower courts sided with the inmates this week. Gov. Beverly Perdue has said that she's disgusted with the state's legal system for saying the inmates should go free.

State courts previously determined that so-called life sentences during a period in the 1970s were defined as 80 years long. Two dozen inmates could be freed immediately because of sentence-reduction credits applied to their terms.

PREVIOUS STORY:

The state attorney general's office is petitioning the North Carolina Supreme Court to block the release of two convicted murderers.

Lawyers filed a request Friday for the state's high court to hear arguments. It came a day after the state appeals court rejected a request to keep Alford Jones and Faye Brown behind bars. The appeals court order is set to go into effect at 5 p.m., allowing the inmates to then go free.

State courts previously sided with the inmates in determining their life sentences were actually defined in the 1970s as 80-years long. The inmates also contend sentence-reduction credits means their terms are now complete.

The state disagrees and says the prisoners should not receive any sentence-reduction credits for good behavior.


Attorneys are turning to the state Supreme Court to decide the fate of two convicted murderers who were sentenced to life.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals rejected a request Thursday to keep the inmates behind bars and set a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday. The attorney general's office has said it is preparing to petition the state's highest court.

State courts previously sided with the inmates in determining their life sentences were actually defined in the 1970s as 80 years long. The inmates, Alford Jones and Faye Brown, also contend a variety of sentence-reduction credits means their terms are now complete.

The state disagrees and says the prisoners should not receive any sentence-reduction credits for good behavior.



Previous Story:

North Carolina's appeals court says two convicted murders should be released from prison.

The court issued an order Thursday rejecting a request from state attorneys to keep inmates Alford Jones and Faye Brown behind bars. The order is to become effective Friday evening, meaning the inmates would go free then unless the state Supreme Court intervenes.

A spokeswoman for North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said his office is preparing petitions to send to the state's highest court.

Brown is in prison for killing Trooper Tom Davis in Martin County in 1975, while Jones was sent to prison for the murder of a Kinston man, also in 1975.

The decision was the second legal appeal in the case of inmates seeking freedom under a state law that allowed so-called life sentences to be time limited. Gov. Beverly Perdue said earlier in the week she was disgusted when a lower court judge ordered the inmates released.

WITN talked with the Governor's office after the appeals court made its ruling Thursday. Governor Perdue says she will continue to fight to keep these inmates behind bars.

The Governor's office said similar cases before other judges may have an impact on the release. There's no word on when those rulings might happen or when the NC Supreme Court may make a ruling.

(Copyright 2009 by WITN and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by hope Location: NC on Dec 23, 2009 at 10:01 AM
    Added the name Ripley Rand to my do not vote for list. Thanks WITN, & a big thanks to Gov Perdue. It appears good common sense may prevail after all.
  • by Susan Location: Washington,NC on Dec 22, 2009 at 07:18 AM
    I sincerely hope these two stay behind bars the rest of their natural lives....at least they are alive,unlike their victims...As for the judges who want to release them,I hope people remember their names at the next election...they have no business being on the bench....they do not represent their constituents in North Carolina....Prayers go out for the families of the victims....I can't even imagine how terrible it is to have to relive these events everyday because of some judge who doesn't have a conscience....Maybe some day he will truly realize from personal experience how these victims feel because at the present time it is obvious he hasn't got a clue.... So so sad!
  • by anon Location: wallace on Dec 21, 2009 at 07:42 AM
    to anonymous, are you playing moses? LET MY PEOPLE GO! let's play devils advocate. what if it was your father[ family member ] that was killed? i beleive you would feel different.
  • by Don't think so scooter Location: Wayne County on Dec 21, 2009 at 04:46 AM
    A life sentence is a life sentence, I don't care how good they behaved. They killed a cop and another man. It didn't matter to them how well behaved there victims were. I say they don't leave until they are carried out in a bag!!!!!!!
  • by Fiona Location: Jamesville on Dec 21, 2009 at 03:08 AM
    Brown, Jones and other murderers like them belong to stay in prison until they die. Ms. Brown was not an innocent girl in the wrong place, she chose to hold company such such creeps, she deserves to pay for her actions. Keep them in jail where they belong, No second chances for Murderers.
  • by slim Location: rocky mount on Dec 20, 2009 at 01:49 PM
    racical issue let the people go home and enjoy what life they have left
  • by good grief on Dec 20, 2009 at 11:33 AM
    The reason they were all charged with murder is because they were all involved someway in an armed robbery in which someone died that's the way the law read you were involved and someone died you all go to trial for murder. They knew this before they committed armed robbery. Marta, even if she "thinks" she's innocent which I'm sure there are a lot of prisoners that say they are innocent she was not at the wrong place at the wrong time she assisted in someway in an armed robbery in which a man lost his life. no matter what her role was this is not a case of the poor black kid getting beat up on by the redneck white person as you want people to think. Maybe she has changed I believe if people want to they can. But I do understand no one wanting them out in society.
  • by anonymous Location: plymouth on Dec 20, 2009 at 11:02 AM
    The laws of today,you might get 40 years for drugs and 5 years for killing someone, so i say why try and change their old laws and let those people go. Those are the laws back then that we need now.
  • by To Marta Tew Location: Martin County on Dec 20, 2009 at 10:37 AM
    Thanks for calling us a redneck county when you are located in the newest crime capital of the east: Rocky Mount. Since you know so much about the case remember this, she may not have been the trigger puller; but, she was a willing participant in the commission of a felony crime (The bank robbery) and was driving the getaway car. This NCSHP trooper wasn't a bully and he didn't even know yet that the bank had been robbed. He just stopped someone for running through a red light. She may not have known that the other guy was going to kill the man but the law was such that she was convicted the same as the killer just as if she had done it herself. Unfortunately, we had another law officer killed in the line of duty recently. Thank God and the Williamston PD that we will never have to endure this crap with his killer.....because he also is dead. Case closed. She has been blessed to continue living this long but her place in this life is right where she is now.
  • by Arcie Location: Washington, NC on Dec 20, 2009 at 09:32 AM
    i feel there is no argument here. "life means life." no interpretations, no good behavior, no credit. when these criminals killed those victims the thought was to kill. life was taken and it should be paid with life.
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