A group of student activists is petitioning North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to reopen the case of man convicted for a violent crime. They say Kalvin Michael Smith was wrongfully accused.

Smith was convicted in 1997 of beating Jill Marker at the Silk Plant Forest store in Winston-Salem. She survived, but suffered permanent brain damage. He's served 19 years in prison.

But students from three Winston-Salem universities (Salem College, Winston-Salem State University, and Wake Forest University) argue that the case has been mishandled and there's no credible evidence linking Smith to the crime. Wake Forest University senior, Hayden Abene, says they're calling for action from the Attorney General.

“We're asking him to meet with former FBI Assistant Director Christopher Swecker who did an extensive review of the case, and ultimately asking Attorney General Cooper to move with Kalvin's defense in filing to vacate the wrongful conviction,” says Abene.

The group has held teach-ins and a rally. The activists will deliver a letter to Cooper's office on Monday and a #FreeKalvinNow banner signed by over 200 students. 

Cooper's office has dismissed the Swecker report as irrelevant, saying that a federal appeal would have to come from evidence that was presented in state court.

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