This is happening all across our great nation – people are being imprisoned for crimes they did not commit and it is taking them years to prove they’re innocent. Do you think it cannot happen to you – the people listed below did not think it would happen to them, but yet they are or were imprisoned. Please take time to read the stories of the people listed below. Maybe you know of someone wrongfully convicted – please feel free to share. NONE of US are safe from this happening – it just takes being at or near the crime, even if you did not know a crime occurred, it takes just one eyewitness putting you at the crime scene – or someone that fits the description, it takes a false confession after hours and hours of interrogation, it is stating something and having your words twisted and used against you, and the tactics used by police, investigators, prosecutors, and the legal system becomes more and more corrupt and questionable.
Back in August 2013 I watched a Dateline piece about Barry Beach, a man serving 100 years in a Montana prison for a crime he states he did not commit – the murder of Kim Nees, a girl who went to the same school he did in Poplar, Montana. I listened to the 1-hour program and then went on an investigation of my own into his case through Montanans for Justice website and read, listened to more audio and YouTube videos in regards to his case. I came to the conclusion that this man was innocent and did not deserve to be serving a 100 year sentence, especially since this happened in his late teen years. I began to follow his case. You can read it in its entirety here: http://montanansforjustice.com/app/
A short time after that I heard another story on Dateline about a young man named Ryan Ferguson who was convicted of killing a newspaper man in Columbia, Missouri, Kent Heitholt. He had just graduated high school and he went out with a friend, Charles Erickson, to a local club, which was just a few short blocks from the newspaper. His friend Charles Erickson began to think because he could not remember what he did that night, that he might be the killer. This is where it begins to go bad when Charles confesses to killing Kent and his accomplish, he states, was Ryan Ferguson. I began to follow his story and you can read it here – http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/2013/11/13/ryan-ferguson-timeline/3520063/ Ryan is now a free man!!
I am following the Fairbanks Four who were convicted of killing a young man – their story is here: http://thefairbanksfour.com/ They are still fighting for their release from prison for a crime they have always stated they did not commit and were falsely convicted on one man’s eye witness of them the night of the crime.
Another success story: Michael Morton who was convicted to supposedly killing his wife in their own home, which was found to be not true – the real killer was finally revealed, but the evidence was always there pointing to his innocence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Morton_(Criminal_Justice) and a book by Ken Johnson Sr. is available in Kindle format called Depraved Prosecution for .99 cents.
The case of Frank O’Connell who was convicted of killing Jay French by only one eye-witness identification, who has recanted his testimony and admitted he only had a fleeting eye view of the assailant. Frank was released and is now a free man. Here is his story: http://www.centurionministries.org/cases/frank-o-connell/
The story of Leonard Peltier, a political prisoner who many believe should be released from prison. He was convicted of killing two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation back in 1975 and has been in prison for over 29 years. Two other men involved in the shoot-out that happened on June 26, 1975 were tried in an Iowa court and found not guilty and said they fired their guns in self-defense, but they pretty much threw the book at Leonard and you can read his case here: http://www.freeleonard.org/case/index.html
It is estimated that 20,000 people in America’s prisons are innocent. Whether due to sloppy investigation of the scene, corrupt investigators/law enforcement, lack of wanting to do the foot work needed to find the true perpetrator of the crime, lawyers/judges who are climbing the ladder in their career or for political reasons – it is more than a probability that it could happen to any one of us or someone we know! You may think this does not affect you – but it DOES – because tragically it does not take much, it can be something so subtle and yet they will hold you, question you, accuse you, and convict you even if nothing else has matched you to the crime scene, no DNA, no fingerprints or footprints have to match, no hair has to match, etc. It is tunnel vision crime investigating/prosecuting and in many cases these people are deadly wrong in whom they have chosen to zero in on. The cases above prove this and countless others who are still sitting in prison awaiting a chance to tell their story and prove they are innocence.
You can help these people by writing to the Congressmen in their state, the governors, attorney generals, the FBI, anyone you think may listen and either open the investigation again or reconsider their stance on any given case – does it help – it cannot hurt, will it free them – it may and you could have been the light in this dark world who made it happen! Other ways you can help is to pray over the leaders that have control in making the decisions to release those falsely imprisoned, you can contact the prisoners and let them know you are praying for them and encourage them, you can become involved and volunteer in your local Innocence Projects within your state and help them with freeing those falsely convicted. Banding together we can make a difference and shed some light on how wrong these convictions are. It affects all of us!
God calls us to minister to those in prison – in Matthew 25:36 it states: “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” In Acts 12:5 it talks about when Peter was in prison and many prayed for him: “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” There is much we can all do to help these people and if it was us, we would hope for someone to reach out and support us!
Become informed, read about each of these cases – take the time to do a little investigating of your own – some have been freed by Innocence projects in their own states – some are still waiting for their freedom and a chance in court, some may never gain their freedom back. Our criminal system is faulty! If this were to happen to you or a loved one – what would you hope that others could do for you or them? Don’t think it cannot happen – it is happening more and more in this country. It is time to take a stand and become informed and write to those who are in power and encourage them to change laws and stop the imprisoning of innocent people.