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MARTHA WAGGONER
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A North Carolina man serving a life sentence for rape will get a chance at freedom mainly because of fingerprints on a banana found in the victim’s home.

The NC Innocence Inquiry Commission decided unanimously on Wednesday that a three-judge panel should review the 1988 criminal conviction of 65-year-old Willie Grimes.

Grimes has always maintained his innocence in the rape of a 69-year-old woman in Hickory.

Among the physical evidence presented to the commission for its review were fingerprints found on bananas in the victim’s home.

An analyst testified Monday that the fingerprints matched a different man, who had a lengthy criminal record.

North Carolina’s innocence commission, which reviews criminal convictions, is unique in the country.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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