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Unprecedented: A twist in the TRU Colors murder case opens the black box of NC's grand juries

The North Carolina grand jury indictment process is shrouded in absolute secrecy — or, almost absolute secrecy, because in one very rare case, we have a glimpse inside that Black Box. What defense attorneys found inside is disturbing, but the system is rigged against addressing the problem.

On this episode of The Newsroom: North Carolina’s notoriously opaque grand juries.

A recent twist in the TRU Colors double-homicide case offered a brief glimpse inside the black box of the grand jury — and defense attorneys argue what they found inside was truly concerning: a detective who appears to have given false testimony to jurors while securing an indictment.

So, what happens when there’s alleged misconduct in the grand jury, when no one is supposed to know what happens there, at all? For the father of one defendant, it’s a question that has, painfully, gone without a real answer.

On this show, we unpack the TRU Colors double-murder case, the secrecy of North Carolina’s grand juries, and an unprecedented look inside one of them. Plus, since we’re talking about the TRU Colors case, we’ll take a look at how the rap lyrics of one of the suspects could be used in court.


Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.