Hearing continues for Wilmington man seeking freedom after nearly 30 years in prison

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A hearing continues for Johnny Small as he seeks freedom after being convicted of murder nearly 30 years ago.

A jury convicted Johnny Small of murdering Pamela Dreher in 1988. The hearing comes after a key witness in the original trial came forward saying he lied on the stand.

Today on the third day of the hearing, Small’s former attorney, the former prosecutor and the detective who witnesses claim coached them into false testimonies took the stand.

Much of today’s hearing focused on whether the district attorney’s office and the police department each had the same documents during the trial. Former detective James J.J. Lightner said it was the police department’s “obligation to turn over all evidence to the District Attorney’s Office.

When asked, during cross examinations whether he turned over the complete file to the district attorney’s office, Lightner said the two offices worked together, so it would have been a joint effort, but he couldn’t answer the question.

The defense also asked many questions regarding the gun used in the murder. None of today’s witnesses remember a gun being found linking Johnny Small to that murder.

Not recalling details of the investigation became a trend in responses from witnesses as the investigation happened nearly 30 years ago.


Categories: Local, New Hanover

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