2002-04-27 / Letters

Death Row & Innocents

Death Row & Innocents

Dear Editor;

On Monday, April 9, Ray Krone walked out of Arizona State Prison at Yuma, Arizona. He is the 100 innocent person convicted of murder to walk out of prison since 1976 when the death penalty was re-established in the U.S. On Monday, Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and Police Chief Harold Hurtt asked for Krone's release after DNA evidence vindicated Krone of the 1991 murder. Robbed of ten years of his life, Krone stated upon release that he felt betrayed by the Justice System. His mantra for the last ten years became, "I am innocent of this crime, so how could there be unquestionable evidence that I am guilty?" He knew that the jury ignored overwhelming evidence in his favor.

100 innocent people from over 20 states have been exonerated from death row totaling 800 years spent there. Robbed of their good name, loss of family and friends and subjected to the deepest indignities. This is a frightening track record and demonstrates serious flaws in the way our nation is carrying out this irreversible punishment. How much longer will our political and legal systems live in denial? How many more innocent people live on death row? How can we believe that it is all right to execute teenagers, the mentally ill and the mentally retarded? What kind of a national soul do we have? There are many questions that must be answered before we kill again. The only thing an execution proves is that the State can kill just as well as the accused be he guilty. Have we executed innocent people? Yes.

New York's State Legislature should heed the warning of these 100 people wrongly convicted and pass a bill calling for an immediate Moratorium against the Death Penalty. The time is long overdue to fix this shameful and broken system.

MARY KIERNAN


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