A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a North Carolina man who's spent more than four decades in prison for a murder he says he didn't commit.

The Wilson Times reports the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously concluded 80-year-old Charles Ray Finch's constitutional rights were violated during three police lineups. The court said no reasonable juror would have convicted Finch based on the totality of evidence.

Finch was convicted in the 1976 death of Richard Holloman, who was shot during a failed robbery inside his country store in Black Creek, about 50 miles eat of Raleigh. 

The Duke Wrongful Convictions Clinic has worked on Finch's case since 2001. Co-director Jim Coleman says the ruling technically sends the case back to the lower court, but he hopes state Attorney General Josh Stein will join a motion to overturn the conviction and release Finch.

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