RALEIGH — The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that a Robeson County man convicted of attempted rape in 2004 will be given a new trial.
Henry T. Locklear was accused of raping a woman in May 2004. He was convicted of attempted second-degree rape in January 2011 and sentenced to at least three years, 10 months in prison.
There was no DNA or physical evidence, and the only eye witnesses were Locklear and the woman, according to the ruling.
The Court of Appeals said Locklear’s conviction should be overturned because Superior Court Judge Gregory Bell allowed the jury to hear about Locklear’s rape conviction in South Carolina in 1976.
According to the ruling, evidence of a prior conviction is sometimes allowed but usually is not, and convictions more than 10 years old need careful consideration. The Court of Appeals ruled that the jury might not have convicted Locklear if jurors had not known about the previous rape conviction.
According to a previous report, Locklear, a decorated Vietnam veteran, was found guilty of rape in South Carolina while he was in the military. He served five years of a 24-year sentence.