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N. Carolina man cleared in ’79 slaying

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A judicial panel ruled Thursday that a mentally ill man who wore a Superman-like cape in police interviews did not kill a North Carolina college student in a dorm 40 years ago.

Three judges declared James Blackmon, 66, innocent in the death of Helena Payton, who was stabbed in the neck in a dormitory bathroom of what is now St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh in September 1979.

Prison officials said that following the exoneration they were working to release Blackmon, who was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder.

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