Profiles of Exonerees, Activists, Victims, and Law Enforcement



Wrongful Conviction, Two Decades in Prison
In 1992, at 16 years old, Franky was convicted of a drive-by shooting based solely on witness testimony. All six witnesses eventually recanted.

Aqeela Sherrills' son was murdered while home on winter break
This month marks the sixth anniversary of my son Terrell's death. Terrell went to a party with friends in 2004 in an affluent neighborhood and was shot to death. He was home on winter break from Humboldt State University. Even though Terrell had never been involved with a gang, he became a victim of random gang violence.

Stories of Wrongful Conviction from California
More than 200 men and women have been wrongfully convicted of serious crimes in California, six of whom were sentenced to death. Here are some of their stories.

Former Florida Warden Haunted by Botched Execution
During my tenure as Warden at Florida State Prison it was my duty to oversee the executions of three men: John Earl Bush, John Mills Jr. and Pedro Medina. Remembering every gruesome detail of their deaths is haunting.

Former Prosecutor Acknowledges Death Penalty Perpetuates Vicious Cycle of Violence
As a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, I once argued to put a young man to death. But I won't do it again. Our limited resources could be better spent on programs that focus on stopping violence before it starts, such as preventing child abuse and drug addiction - programs that will prevent another child from becoming the next Demarcus Ralls.

It is time to end the sentence of shame for family members of the executed
Imagine you are ten. Imagine your father. A black hood covers his head. A rope around his neck. His arms, tied behind his back. The floor opens. The rope snaps. He's dead. Period.

A Former Judge Asks, Should Executions Continue?
The death penalty is overdue for examination as a public policy - its burdens and alleged benefits should be fairly weighed. For many years, we have only considered the death penalty in theory - whether it might be appropriate for the most horrible crime. But the death penalty in practice is what needs to be examined.

I want to live in safe community without the death penalty
As an African American woman living in Oakland, whose brother was murdered, I strongly oppose the death penalty. More than anything, I want to live in a safe community; a community where my six sons and my daughter are able to pursue all of theirs dreams without fear of becoming another number in the city homicide count.

Italian Catholics Changed My Perspective on the Death Penalty
I was not always against the death penalty. Like earthquakes, I accepted the death penalty as part of life in California. Growing up as a Catholic in Modesto, and then attending college at UCLA, including attending services at the Newman Center, I never heard my parents, teachers or priests talk about the death penalty, and I never explored the issue on my own. I was focused on getting through school, holding down a part-time job, getting married, and busying myself with my children’s needs and schooling.

The death penalty is not civilized
I am no stranger to murder. Not that I have ever killed anyone, but I have lost several members of my family to homicide. What makes me different from most people who share my experience is that I have worked as a lawyer on both sides of the criminal justice system.

A Former Cop Speaks Out Against the Death Penalty
I confess to more than a few occasions during my 34-year career as a police officer when, in opposition to my conscience, I wished for someone's sudden death. Cop killers, child killers, cold-blooded murderers come to mind. Despite my visceral reactions to violent offenders, while working as a police officer I discovered that the death penalty is inefficient and extravagantly expensive.

The Death Penalty Will Only Cause Me More Pain
My brother, Robert James Kerr, was found lifeless, shirtless, barefoot, and without identification on July 12, 2003 in Everett, Washington. I am still waiting, four years later, for a suspect to be named and for justice to take its course. It has been agonizing for me to go through the pain and grief of Bob’s violent death. But the possibility of the death penalty for the murderer is an additional burden and a cruel twist that adds to my sense of victimization.

We should be devoted to ending the injustice of the death penalty, not ending more lives
On January 19, 1996, our 23 year-old son, Joshua "JoJo" White was returning home with friends from work at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School when he was confronted by a confused and enraged stranger who shot him to death. His last words, in hope of calming his assailant, were "Peace, brother, One Love". His killer escaped, and is still at large. We, of course, want this man off the streets, unable to hurt or kill again.

Parents of Murdered Daughter Speak Out Against the Death Penalty
As a family, we have always been opposed to the Death Penalty. That belief, however, was theoretical; we never dreamed that our family would be touched by violent crime. On January 10, 2001, our only daughter, Laura, was murdered while home on winter break from college. In the days after Laura was killed, we were searching to find sense and meaning. It was incomprehensible that someone as good and innocent as our dear Laura could be killed by an act of violence. Comments such as “Fry the Bastard” or “I hope he gets what he deserves” were loudly expressed in our community, but did not comfort us.

Are We Executing the Innocent? The Story of Larry Griffin
A year-long investigation has uncovered evidence that the State of Missouri may have executed Larry Griffin for a crime he did not commit.

Innocent and Condemned to Die: The Story of Greg Wilhoit
On June 1, 1985, Greg's wife Kathy was brutally murdered in Tulsa, Oklahoma leaving Greg to raise two little girls 4 months and 14 months old. Almost a year later Greg was arrested and charged with Kathy's murder. He spent five years of his life on death row, until he received a full exoneration in 1993. But life is still a struggle for Greg.

 

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