WILMINGTON -- Members of the community gathered to rally for pardons of innocence for the Wilmington 10 on Tuesday night. The Faith Community rally garnered support for the 10 who were convicted of burning down a grocery store in 1971.
Although their convictions were later overturned after witnesses recanted in 1980, the individuals never had their names officially cleared.
"When we were charged, tried, and convicted for crimes that we didn't commit, it was one of the worst things that ever happened in my life," said Willie Vereen, a Wilmington 10 member.
Family members of the Wilmington 10 say they want justice.
"I hope they'll do us just. You know, that justice prevails and free those boys, pardon those boys because I think they deserve it," said Margaret Jacobs. "They suffered so much and their parents did too."
In May, papers were filed by the group's attorneys to the state Office of Executive Clemency asking Gov. Perdue to grant pardons to each of the seven surviving members of the Wilmington 10, as well as the three deceased members.
"The night that Mike's grocery was burned, we weren't even in town. Why were we selected? I don't know," said Vereen.