Time runs out for prisoner trying to prove his innocence

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Time ran out for a North Carolina prisoner to prove his innocence, even though a co-defendant absolved him in a conversation with a lawyer that remained secret for decades.

Lee Wayne Hunt was convicted of the 1984 slayings of a Fayetteville couple and sentenced to life in prison. The 59-year-old inmate died in February.

A co-defendant’s lawyer said his client had absolved Hunt in the deaths of Roland and Lisa Matthews. The lawyer, Staples Hughes, kept that confession a secret under attorney-client privilege until after his client died in 2002.

Heather Allen is Hunt’s daughter. She told The Associated Press that her father “never let go of hope” that he’d be exonerated.

But relatives of the victim say they believe Hunt was guilty and that Hughes lied.