Supporters of pastor wrongfully convicted in Winterville robbery denied the opportunity to speak at public town hall meeting

WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Many supporters of a pastor in the east who served eight years in prison for robbery prior to being exonerated, came together Thursday night as the fight for justice in his wrongful conviction continues.

Justice advocates and supporters of Pastor Darron Carmon stood outside the Winterville Town Hall assembly room, in complete disbelief.

“This has been a horrible travesty that happened today,” said Pastor Carmon’s son, Darius. “To not be allowed to voice our support.”

Many came out to show their support for Carmon at a public town hall meeting, as he recently filed a second lawsuit against the town for his wrongful conviction of a robbery at the Fresh Way Convenience Store in town in 1993, now called the Winterville Food Mart.

The packed room was silent as Carmon’s supporters waited for the chance to voice their concerns.

Winterville Mayor Ricky Hines said the meeting was a chance for any resident to raise issues they may have.

“You have an opportunity to speak during the public comment,” Hines said. “You can fill out the paperwork or email Dawn.”

However, Carmon’s son Darius says he doesn’t believe those same rules applied to them as he says they were told by the town attorney that they couldn’t speak in support of his dad due to legal reasons.

“It’s hurtful to see that this type of stuff happens today,” Carmon said. “Obviously, that’s why Pastor Carmon is still fighting because this stuff does happen.”

Carmon says there was a letter sent to the town clerk by Bishop Rosie O’Neal prior to Thursday’s meeting, expressing a desire to speak on behalf of his dad and all his supporters, but he says they were silenced.

Pastor Carmon’s most recent lawsuit alleges that evidence of his innocence was suppressed for years after his conviction.

Carmon and his brother Tom, believe not being allowed to speak is similar, but say this will only make the fight for their father’s justice worth it in the end.

“I just want the town of Winterville to be accountable and do what’s right to my dad so he can get what he deserves,” Tom Carmon said. “We’re standing in support with him.”

“We were told that we could not voice our support but before we take it back, we’ll add more to it,” Darius Carmon said.

The town attorney did not speak directly to the media about why Carmon’s supporters weren’t given the chance to speak.

Carmon has already been exonerated and now his supporters say he’s seeking a pardon.