Thursday, March 04, 2010

Meet the Exonerated: Arizona Death Row

Prison privatization, just like every other kind of privatization taking place in our nation, is becoming is becoming commonplace in the United States, and Arizona leads the way with nearly 30 percent of its prisoners housed in private facilities. The local prison industry is booming! In addition, Arizona can brag about being one of the states in the U.S. with the most death row exonerations.

Ray Krone is one of those eight men exonerated from death row in the state of Arizona. Twice convicted for a murder he did not commit, he spent more than a decade in prison before DNA testing cleared his name. He is the 100th former death row inmate freed because of innocence since the reinstatement of capital punishment in the United States in 1976. He was the twelfth death row inmate whose innocence has been proven through post conviction DNA testing.

“I have the ability to be angry, but I’ve tried to avoid the anger. I sat in prison all that time, and I watched people who were so bitter and angry that they became victims. At some point you’ve got to take control of your life and rise above things. I hope I won’t ever get to the point where I am so overwhelmed with grief and tragedy that I would actually give in.

[...]I would not trust the state to execute a person for committing a crime against another person. I know how the system works. I know what prison is like, I know what the judges are like, and I know what the prosecutors are like. It’s not about justice or fairness or equality. It’s absolutely wrong. Any chance I can, whether I start with one or two people or a whole auditorium filled with people, I’ll tell them what happened to me. Because if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone.” -- Roy Krone


The eight freed individuals are: Jonathan Treadway, Jimmy Lee Mathers, James Robison, Robert Charles Cruz, David Wayne Grannis, Christopher McCrimmon, Ray Krone, and Lemuel Prion.

Here are two more examples:

Jonathan Treadway (Arizona, Conviction: 1975) is another man exonerated from Arizona's death row. Convicted of sodomy and first degree murder of a six-year-old and sentenced to death. He was acquitted of all charges at retrial by the jury after five pathologists testified that the victim probably died of natural causes and that there was no evidence of sodomy.

Jimmy Lee Mathers and two co-defendants were convicted and sentenced to death in the murder of Sterleen Hill. The Arizona Supreme Court reviewed Matthers case in 1990, and in reviewing the evidence; the Court found that there was a complete absence of probative facts to support Matthers conviction. The court stated that most of the evidence presented at trial had nothing to do with Mattthers conviction. The Court set aside Matters conviction and sentence and entered a judgment of acquittal.

Links:

Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty (CAADP) is a statewide organization that works to end the death penalty in Arizona.

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