Last night, Kansas City’s Fox 4 News profiled two area exonerees and their struggle to put their lives back together after they served time in prison for crimes they did not commit.
Eddie Lowery, of Kansas, who was wrongfully convicted of rape, served nearly 10 years before being paroled. The truth about his innocence only came to light after he was released from prison.
Darryl Burton, of Missouri, was wrongfully convicted of murder and served 24 years before he was released from prison as an innocent man.
Since 1973, 138 people nationwide have been exonerated because new evidence came to light after they were sentenced to die for a crime they did not commit. When the death penalty is an option, even one small mistake can risk executing an innocent person.
Lowery’s story particularly demonstrates that even with the best intentions, mistakes happen in Kansas criminal trials. Since 1994, a quarter of Kansas death sentences have been overturned by the Kansas Supreme Court due to errors made during the trials. Though Lowery was paroled and eventually exonerated, there is growing evidence that other innocent people across the United States have been wrongfully convicted, sentenced to death, and then executed for crimes they never committed.
As long as Kansas has the death penalty, wrongful convictions and wrongful executions remain an unacceptable risk. By replacing the death penalty with life without parole, we can ensure that even when a mistake is made, there is never a risk of executing an innocent person.
For more information on Death Row exonerations, please visit the Death Penalty Information Center.