Winston-Salem, NC -- On Monday night, a Winston-Salem City Council Committee decided they need to take action in support of a man who's been convicted of a crime and sitting in prison.
In December 1995, Jill Marker was beaten at the Silk Plant Forest store. She was injured so badly, she's now blind and permanently disabled.
Two years later, a jury convicted Kalvin Michael Smith. Smith has claimed he was not even there when Marker was beaten. However, he's been denied a new trial.
In 2010, police declared the case closed.
Over the past several years, independent investigators have launched several studies into the case against Smith. All of them came to one conclusion: The evidence against Smith wasn't there.
On Monday, advocates for Smith asked the city council to tell that to a judge.
"It's a dual injustice because when you have someone in prison, who at this point has almost certainly had nothing to do with the crime, it means whoever did do this crime is unaccounted for," said Jet Hollander, co-chair of the Silk Plant Forest Truth Committee.
"And I ask, as someone who has fought long and hard for justice, that we have the courage to say, 'things were done wrong'," said former City Councilman Larry Little.
Smith has served 15 years of a 29-year sentence.
In May, an independent investigator found investigators on the case lost or mishandled evidence, planted information during witness interviews, and were careless with the facts of the case.
Since the City Council oversees the police department, five council members said Monday night, they have a moral obligation to provide whatever new information is available to the courts.
"District attorneys, prosecutors and defense attorneys use information gathered in our police department's investigations to support their cases. And if that whole process was flawed, it is our responsibility both morally and politically, for both of those compasses to point in the director of justice," said Councilman Derwin Montgomery.
"We want justice. That's all we want. And we want this community to move forward," said Councilwoman Vivian Burke.
Next Monday, the City Council will have a closed session to discuss their legal options with the city attorney. They could file a motion requesting the judge to consider evidence found by independent investigators.
The federal court has the ability to reopen the case, retry the case or take whatever action the judge chooses.
Advocates believe that in Smith's case, he would not be re-tried because there is not enough evidence against him. They believe the person who beat Marker has since died.
WFMY News 2