I love reading fiction. I have a few of my own favourite authors. Among them are Michael Crichton, John Grisham and James Peterson. I have read all of MC and JG's books and still trying to get some of JP's books.
Anyways, I finally finished reading John Grisham's latest titled the Innocent Man. Unlike his previous books, this one is a non-fiction. Its about 2 men (Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz tho Ron is the main character in this book) who were wrongly accused and convicted for murder and were given death sentences.
This happened in a small town called Ada in Oklahoma. Population, 16,000. Ron, who anybody in the right mind can see is not mentally stable and Dennis Fritz, was sent to the death row and spent 11 years there while fighting for an overturned. Twice he was told that he was to be put to death and has only 30days left. I just cannot even began to imagine how it felt like when one is innocent and about to be put to death for something that they didnt do. What more if you're mentally unstable. He was getting a bad deal and nobody from the cops, the so-called experts, prosecutors, judge or even his own lawyer did anything.
After 11 years in death row and with the help of DNA, he was finally exonerated and released and so did Dennis but neither had been ruled out as suspects. To add insult to injury, they receive no apologies. For that, they fought back and sued everybody. I mean, EVERYBODY. From the city of Ada, Pontotoc County, the prosecutors, the 'witnesses", the experts and etc. The case was settled out of court and the sum paid was undisclosed. Who actually had to pay for that? Of course the tax payers. As mentioned in the book, several million dollars were wasted because of their cases. Sigh ....
But when you lose 11 years of your life, no amount of money can buy back those time. For Ron, instead of getting medical help, he was sent to prison and because of that, his health (physical and mental) deteriorate. He passed on 5 years after his release on Dec 04, 2004 (the day of our wedding reception in Malaysia). He was 51 years old. The prosecutor? He is still the Disctrict Attorney though he is retiring after Jan 01.
"With every visit and every conversation, the story took a different twist. I could've written 5000 pages. The journey also exposed me to the world of wrongful convictions, something that I, even as a former lawyer, had never spent much time thinking about. This is not a problem peculiar to Oklahoma, far from it. Wrongful convictions occur every month in every state in this country, and the reasons are all varied and all the same - bad police work, junk science, faulty eyewitness identifications, bad defence lawyers, lazy prosecutors, arrogant prosecutors" - John Grisham.
** John Grisham and Dennis Fritz are now being sued by Bill Peterson for 'emotional distress'. Errrr...?????
If you would like to get into more details, please visit Barbara's Journey Toward Justice . Please hold on to your jaw cause the more you read her blog, the more your jaw will drop.