RALEIGH — A jury found a man innocent in Wake County Superior Court on Thursday in a murder case that the defense attorney described as one in which prosecutors had based their case on a stripper's wild accusations.
Khaleel A. Oyeneyin walked out of the Wake County courtroom late Thursday after the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.
Oyeneyin had been accused of killing Corinnie Broadway, 21, a Shaw University sociology student who was found fatally shot in her Larson Drive home on June 7, 2008.
In a case that went to the jury late Wednesday, prosecutors accused Oyeneyin of killing Broadway, his girlfriend, after finding out she was pregnant.
Prosecutors based much of their case on a stripper who told them she overheard the accused make a phone call and tell someone on the other end that he would kill his girlfriend if she didn't have an abortion.
Clifton Gray III, the lawyer with offices in Greenville and Washington, N.C., who represented Oyeneyin, told jurors during his closing arguments that police had produced no cell phone records that showed such a call had been made. Gray also said police had produced no murder weapon and no fingerprints or other evidence to bolster their case.
The case, Gray said, was reminiscent of the Duke lacrosse case in which Crystal Gail Mangum, a stripper, falsely accused three lacrosse team members of a gang-rape.
Roy Cooper, the state attorney general, exonerated the three lacrosse players after finding no evidence that any assault had occurred at a March 2006 spring break lacrosse party.
Oyeneyin's trial was overseen by Jim Hardin, a Superior Court judge who used to be a district attorney in Durham County, where the lacrosse case played out.
Gray said Raleigh police did not follow leads that might have taken them to a different suspect, though one witness testified to seeing a suspicious man outside the apartment building where Broadway was shot earlier that day.
"Here we are again with another stripper making wild accusations against someone, and the state doesn't have any evidence to back it up," Gray told the jurors in closing arguments.
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