Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt

Atlantic Monthly. Mar. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780802159373. $27. SOC SCI
The Trials of Darryl Hunt (2006) is a documentary about the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of a Black man for a rape and murder in North Carolina. Hunt spent 20 years behind bars before DNA evidence exonerated him. Zerwick (journalism, Wake Forest Univ.) wrote an eight-part investigation on Hunt in the months before his exoneration in 2003. Here, she examines what happened to Hunt during and after his incarceration while connecting his story to the systematic racism that dominates America’s carceral state. Most of the book is dedicated to recounting the crime, the conviction and Hunt’s time in prison; throughout, Zerwick includes excerpts from Hunt’s journals. The last section of the book focuses on Hunt’s work as an advocate for social justice and the days leading up to his death by suicide in 2016. The book’s reconstruction of Hunt’s last days is a powerful reminder of incarceration’s effects on the large numbers of Black Americans who have spent time behind bars.
VERDICT Zerwick’s portrait of Hunt is a reminder of the trauma caused by the American justice system and offers an essential narrative of the lasting impacts of incarceration.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing