Documentary sheds light on Kalvin Smith’s conviction

Last week residents got a chance to see “Ordinary Injustice,” a documentary that sheds light on Kalvin Michael Smith, a man serving a 29-year sentence for a crime he did not commit.

Documentary sheds light on Kalvin Smith’s conviction
May 05
06:30 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson



Last week dozens of residents filed into the Hanesbrand Theatre in the heart of downtown to get the first glimpse at a documentary that sheds light on Kalvin Michael Smith, a black man who was wrongfully convicted of a brutal assault in 1997.

Entitled “Ordinary Injustice,” the film documents the mishandling of Smith’s case, who is serving a 29-year sentence for the brutal assault of Jill Marker at the Silk Plant Forest store in December of 1977 that left her with brain damage. Even though Smith was reportedly nowhere near the scene of the crime, he was charged with the crime.

The film shows  that the Winston-Salem Police Department first suspected that Kenneth Lamourex, a white man, committed the crime, before shifting their focus to Smith. Although he had a history of violence and was known to stalk Marker and other women in the past, Lamourex was taken off the suspect’s list following questioning after he moved to Charlotte.

Through powerful footage of one-on-one interviews with those closely involved with the case, including Smith, Marker and Smith’s father, Augustus Dark, director Keith T. Barber paints a picture of injustice that will leave a lasting image.

The short film also includes the first on-camera interview with Ellen Lamourex, the ex-wife of Kenneth Lamourex, who questions the WSPD’s handling of the case as well. According to Lamourex, her ex-husband had been admitted into the psychiatric ward of the Forsyth Hospital, which is across the street from the Silk Plant Forest store, less than 24 hours before the crime was committed.

Although Kenneth Lamourex has since died, in the film Ellen Lamourex said that for all those involved with the incident, the truth needs to come out.

Barber said by making the film, he hopes to encourage the public to care about the injustice that plagues people like Smith and Darryl Hunt, who served 19 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

“I hope to inspire audiences to care,” said Barber. “With this documentary, I wanted to give a human face to wrongful convictions.”

Following the viewing, Barber and others who are featured in the film answered questions about the case and the ongoing fight to urge N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper to free Smith. In recent months, students from Salem College, Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University have joined the list of local and state organizations calling for the immediate release of Smith.

Co-director of the Wrongful Convictions Clinic (WCC) at Duke Law School, Jim Coleman said they will not give up until Smith walks free. The WCC studies the causes of wrongful convictions and works with clients to have cases overturned. WCC has been working on Smith’s case since 2003.

“We never, ever give up. That’s something we just don’t do,” said Coleman. “We will continue to urge Cooper and others to do the right thing.”

Smith’s father, Augustus Dark, answered a number of questions as well. When asked how he remains so strong, Dark said his son’s strength and courage is what makes him continue to stand strong. While a number of those in attendance said they were moved by the film in its present form, Barber said the film is not done and can only end one way.

“The film will end with Kalvin walking free,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine ending the film any other way.”

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors