Half-way there – help us get to 60!
Darrill Henry recently walked out of Angola prison after more than a decade and a half incarcerated for a 2004 crime that he did not commit. DNA testing, obtained by The Innocence Project, excluded Darrill. The same trial court in New Orleans that ordered Darrill to spend his life in prison, overturned his murder conviction based on the new evidence of his innocence. The court ruled that Darrill deserved a new trial and on April 2nd set bail in his case at $400,000. This meant Darrill could be released from wrongful imprisonment – if his family could raise a non-refundable amount of $48,100 to pay a bondsman.
Incredibly, the day after the court set bail, thanks to the generosity of many and a bonds company willing to let Darrill's family go on a payment plan, Darrill had raised the minimum amount for him to be released. Angola prison set the release process in motion, telling Darrill he was finally going home, after more than 15 years of wrongful imprisonment. Darrill gave away all of his belongings to the men at Angola that he thought he was leaving behind. But just as freedom neared, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office filed an emergency appeal of the bail order – halting his release.
Darrill’s future remained uncertain for the next five weeks, as the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office fought to keep Darrill incarcerated at Angola. During this time, prisoners and employees at Angola contracted COVID-19, Darrill’s dorm went on quarantine, the prison started to see its first COVID-19 deaths, and his legal team started to worry that Darrill could die in prison, with evidence of his innocence but before being able to present it to a new jury so he could be fully vindicated of the charges. The DA's office argued among other things that concerns about COVID-19 were overblown, and asked that Darrill’s bail be raised to an insurmountable $8 million – an amount it knew would keep Darrill behind bars. The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office appealed the court’s grant of bail twice all the way up to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
When Darrill was arrested in 2004, he was in his late twenties and raising his daughter who was eight and his son who was six. His children have attended his court hearings over the years, enduring the pain of seeing their father shackled, and having him ripped away from them at the end of the proceedings and sent back to Angola.
On May 7th, after the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected the State’s second appeal, Darrill's son, now 22, drove to Angola and picked his dad up to bring him home! See pictures of their reunion here.
Darrill has spent his first weeks home spending as much time as possible with his son and daughter, who is five months pregnant with his first grandchild! While he is overjoyed to be with his family, Darrill’s fight is not over. The day after Darrill’s release, the Orleans Parish DA's Office filed its appeal of the court's underlying grant of a new trial.
In addition to The Innocence Project, Darrill is represented by the law firm of Paul Weiss & New Orleans Attorney Letty DiGiulio.
The price of freedom
We still have a cash bail system in this country, which means Darrill’s freedom comes with a price tag – he and his family still owe the bail bondsman the remainder of the non-refundable $48,100 bail bond, so that he can remain free until hes fully vindicated of the charges.
We’ve set a goal to raise $60k to pay the remainder of bond, and to help ease Darrill’s financial burden as he rebuilds his life after nearly 16 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. We are already half-way there. Please help us reach our goal!
Your contribution is tax deductible.
You can read more about Darrill’s release and ongoing fight for freedom HERE.