Death penalty opponents speak out
Two are exonerated after unjustified waits
By CLAUD HODGES
One death row inmate released after 10 years awaiting the ultimate consequence of a crime and the mother of a death row inmate exonerated after a long wait behind bars passed through Washington on Wednesday pleading their case to end executions.
Kurt Rosenberg, director of Witness to Innocence, From Death Row to Freedom, echoed Dear’s statement. His organization is based in Philadelphia.
Her son was on death row in Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana for a crime he did not commit, she said. It involved a murder in a grocery store. Her son was arrested just days past his 17th birthday.
She said she is telling people about her son’s ordeal because he has not mustered the confidence to talk about the pain he has experienced during his two years on death row.
Ms. Matthews has traveled around the country and the world to bring attention to her son’s case. In February, she traveled to Rome with her daughter, where they met with Vatican officials and Catholic human rights groups to address the issue of the juvenile death penalty.
She said it was very heartening to be in the presence of one of the moral leaders of the world, as he let them know in no uncertain terms that the Catholic church and almost every country in the world is opposed to giving children the death penalty.
Ray Krone, a former death row inmate who was exonerated from an Arizona prison, said he was thankful for an apology from the Arizona legislature after spending 10 years in state prison – two of them on death row – for a murder he did not commit.
Released in 2002 after two wrongful convictions for the murder of a Phoenix bartender, Krone has since used his freedom to work for an end to the death penalty.
Afterward, Krone filed a lawsuit, winning $3 million from the City of Phoenix and $1.4 million from Maricopa County, where the city is located.
Krone is now the director of communications and training for Rosenberg’s organization and seeks to educate the public on criminal justice issues.