Posted: August 9th, 2016 | By: Emily Eisert
Professor Mark Rabil, director of the law school’s Innocence and Justice Clinic, is featured in MTV’s new documentary series, “Unlocking the Truth,” which premieres at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. The series, hosted by wrongful conviction exoneree Ryan Ferguson and the Exoneration Project’s Eva Nagao, examines three controversial murder or assault cases. The trailer is available here. Professor Rabil is associated with Winston-Salem native Kalvin Michael Smith’s case, which will be introduced at the end of Episode 1 and investigated fully in Episode 2. His interview was filmed in the Innocence and Justice Clinic offices in the Worrell Professional Center on Wake Forest University’s Reynolda Campus.
Smith was convicted of assault with intent to kill, as well as robbery, of pregnant Jill Marker. Marker, an employee of the now closed Silk Plant Forest, suffered brain injuries that caused blindness and has required 24-hour care ever since. Smith was 26 at the time and has since served 18 years of his 29-year sentence. He has been denied many appeals, the most recent of which involved accusations about the lead detective.
Over the years, the case has garnered great attention in the Triad and beyond, and a variety of community organizations have advocated for Smith’s release. In April, students from Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University and Salem College held a protest in downtown Winston-Salem demanding N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper release Smith.
A “Free Kalvin Smith” movement advances, recently via the North Carolina NAACP state and national campaigns launched in March. Also associated with the movement are The Silk Plant Forest Truth Committee and the Minister’s Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity.