NEWTON, N.C. -- Willie Grimes testified Tuesday in front of a panel of three Superior Court judges who will determine if his 1988 conviction on two counts of rape in 1987 would be overturned.
He was the last person to take the stand in the old court house on the second day of his innocence hearing.
The first person was a Hickory police officer who laid out the crime scene. Investigator Dustin Nowatka showed the panel pictures taken at the crime scene, and he also testified about the elderly victim described who raped her twice in her house around 9 p.m. on that October night.
Then three different people testified, saying they were with Grimes during the night and that he did not have time to rape anyone. Under cross examination all three said they did not go to police once they heard that their friend had been taken into custody by Hickory police.
William Robinson, who said that Grimes and he were together for part of that night, said he came to the hearing because, "There was no way he did it."
"Woot (a nick name people called Willie Grimes) and I were together and he's not that type of person," added Robinson.
A girl friend of Grimes and another man also took the stand. During the hearings the judges also asked questions of the witnesses in the case.
When Grimes took the stand Tuesday he recounted the events before and after his arrest for the rape.
Grimes said he heard from friends that police were looking for him and went to the police station because, "I knew I didn't do anything wrong."
When asked about the possibility of taking sex offender classes in prison to shorten his sentence, he refused. Grimes said that he would rather spend the rest of his life in jail than admit to something he did not do.
"Some people who admit something like that just to get out and do more of the same," he said as he walked out of the courthouse. "I would rather still be in jail rather than say I did something I did not do."
The defense may wrap up its case Wednesday afternoon. Then the state would have its turn.
Eric Bellas said that he thinks the state could call as many as four witnesses and as few as none. Court resumes Wednesday at 10 a.m.