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The Daily Tar Heel

Group Implores Hunt to Grant Carter Clemency

But members of his family and People of Faith Against the Death Penalty met with outgoing Gov. Jim Hunt on Monday to persuade the governor to grant Carter clemency because they say he recieved an unfair trail.

Carter's supporters claim negligent lawyers forced him to represent himself during a second trial and that hair samples at the crime scene did not match Carter or the victim.

As of press time, Hunt had not indicated that he would halt the execution.

Gary Gloster, an Episcopal bishop and member of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, said that when Carter's case went to trial in May 1995, all jurors who had previously been in jail or had known someone in jail were excused from the jury. "In most cases, these jurors (who were excused) are minorities," Gloster said. "That made the trial racially biased."

Carter, 32, is on death row for the December 1989 murder and attempted rape of Ameila Lewis, 20, of Goldsboro.

Those present at the meeting - which was closed to the media - included the governor and his lawyer, some of Carter's family, members of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, former UNC law Professor Daniel Pollitt and area ministers. Pollitt said Hunt has four options in dealing with the matter - he can pardon Carter, allowing him to be dismissed from jail completely; postpone the execution and allow a retrial; reduce the sentence to life in jail; or let the ruling stand.

Pollitt said Hunt can make his decision at any time up to the execution, but he said a retrial is the course of action the governor is most likely to take.

But members of Carter's family said they are focusing on clemency for the moment. "I think the meeting today went well - better than well," said Faye Booker, one of Carter's cousins.

Patrick Frye, UNC student body treasurer and member of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, said that although the governor gave no indication of whether clemency would be granted, he thought the meeting was successful. "Gov. Hunt seemed to take interest in some things, such as Carter's family life and the legal issues in the trial," Frye said.

Gloster also said he was optimistic about the impact the group made on Hunt. "What really might swing (Hunt) in our direction is our case that there wasn't a fair trial," Gloster said. "Now we wait, we pray, we hope."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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