NC judges slam prosecutors for delayed trial

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's Court of Appeals has dismissed all charges against a man serving at least 44 years in prison in connection with a Durham home invasion.

Judges said in a ruling Tuesday that a nearly five-year pretrial delay deprived Frankie Delano Washington the right to a speedy trial, prejudiced the case and led to the loss of circumstantial evidence.

The three-judge panel said in a unanimous decision the state could have avoided the delay if it "had exercised even the slightest care during the course of this prosecution." The Durham district attorney's office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Washington was found guilty of burglary, kidnapping, robbery, assault and attempted sex offense after a trial in February 2007. He was arrested in May 2002 after a Durham family reported a home invasion.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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