District Attorney drops murder charges against Johnny Small

District Attorney drops murder charges against Johnny Small

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - District Attorney Ben David said his office will dismiss charges against Johnny Small who was convicted by a jury of killing a Wilmington woman in 1988.

Small was released from prison on Aug. 11 after a judge ruled there was not enough evidence for Small to have been convicted in the killing of Pamela Dreher.

"At the end of the hearing, Judge [Douglas Parsons] made specific findings of fact and conclusions of law, vacating the convictions," David explained. "As a result, the case became an open investigation at the Wilmington Police Department and a pending case in my office."

Parsons signed an order for appropriate relief on Aug. 30 and in that order he wrote that "The Court does not find actual innocence in this case. I don't know if Mr. Small did this or not. Whoever did this is a monster. I don't know that he did or didn't. What I am here to decide is did he receive a fair trial according to the North Carolina and United States Constitutions and it is more than abundantly clear to me that he did not."

David said the Attorney General's Office, which handled the motion because of a conflict of interest in his office, made the final determination on Sept. 6 that the state will not seek a review of Parsons' ruling.

David said his office then filed to have Small's charges dismissed.

"Ultimately, the challenge of retrying a 28-year-old homicide in which there is no physical evidence and where two material witnesses have been discredited by the Court proved to be too great to overcome," David said.

Small, who has been on house arrest since his release from prison, is now a free man.

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