Richard Lynn Holloman, 46, was gunned down in his grocery store on U.S. 117 near Black Creek the night of Feb. 13, 1976.
Holloman and an employee, who would later be the alleged eyewitness to the crime for prosecutors, were closing up the store when three black men approached them, according to trial transcripts.
One of the men asked if he could buy an Alka- Seltzer. Holloman asked the man if he needed water and a paper cup for it. That’s when another man answered "yes, and your money, too.” One of the men pulled out a sawed-off shotgun from beneath his coat and began to fire, according to original court testimony. Holloman shot back. He later died of as result of his injuries and the three men fled without the money they intended to steal that night. The employee was not injured during the incident.
Charles Ray Finch, a regular customer at the store, was driving by the store on his way home, according to previous published reports. He stopped by after he saw the commotion outside the store that night. Hours later, Finch and another man were arrested in connection with the attempted robbery and killing. Finch, who was questioned by deputies, also agreed to a line up where the eyewitness identified him as the shooter. A second suspect, who was initially charged, was released after the state dismissed the charges two years later.
The motion lists several claims for Finch’s relief including:
• Failure to disclose a Feb. 17, 1976 medical examiner report showing Holloman died from multiple gunshot wounds, not a shotgun wound.
• Failure to disclose the state’s key witness identified another man involved in the attempted robbery from a photographic lineup on Feb. 17. 1976.
• Failure to disclose that a sawedoff shotgun was seized at the Wilson County Jail from another alternate suspect.
• Cumulative effect of the state’s failure to disclose exculpatory evidence that violates both the United States and North Carolina constitutions.
• The state knowingly allowed and elicited misleading and false testimony to bolster its key witness and secure Finch’s conviction.