PITTSBORO, N.C. — Police say a man previously exonerated after spending nearly 40 years in prison for a store clerk’s death has been charged in the death of a woman found dead in her North Carolina apartment last year.

WNCN-TV reports 64-year-old Willie Henderson Womble was arrested at his Greensboro home on Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder.

Authorities say the body of 54-year-old Donna Todd was already decomposing by the time police found it in April 2017. Womble then lived nearby, and police say forensic evidence found at the scene linked him to the crime.

Officials confirmed that Womble is the same Willie Womble who was convicted in July 1976 of having murdered a store clerk. He was exonerated in 2014 after an investigation by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.