WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — WFMY News 2 learned that Winston-Salem Police found the body of a Triad man who spent 20 years behind bars in a high-profile assault case. WSPD say they found Kalvin Smith dead near Forsyth Tech's campus this week.
He spent time in prison for an assault that he swore he never committed. The case drew strong reactions from people across the city. Here's the timeline from Smith's 1997 conviction to his recent death in September 2023.
In 1995, investigators said Smith's alleged attack on Jill Marker at the Silk Plant Forest left her blind, brain-damaged, and disabled. Smith maintained his innocence, as advocacy groups fought to clear his name. He was released from jail in 2016, nine years ahead of schedule.
Marker worked at Silk Plant Forest as a store manager at the time of her 1995 assault, at the time, she was pregnant. Although this assault left her permanently disabled, her baby was born healthy.
Smith was accused of this assault and was later convicted for it in 1997.
He was given a 29-year sentence after a jury convicted him. Smith declared he was innocent, as advocacy groups vowed to continue fighting for his exoneration while he served time.
Although he was not exonerated, his sentence was shortened. He was released 20 years into his 29-year sentence back in 2016. This is all because, his judge heard a motion that stated Smith's trial attorney had failed to present evidence that could have led to a shorter sentence for Smith. Those factors included Smith's family support, work records and good behavior.
Fast forward less than four months later after his release, Smith was shot on North Jackson Avenue in Winston-Salem in 2017. He ended up in critical condition but did survive the shooting.
Smith recovered and maintained his innocence until his death. Police found his body off Charleston Court near Forsyth Tech September 13, 2023. They later identified the body found as Kalvin Smith.
Although they say there is no suspicion of foul play involved, because the body had been sitting for a couple of days, they are treating this as a crime investigation.
Winston-Salem police weren't able to give details at today's press conference regarding smith's death as they say the investigation is ongoing.