Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Time to get active

With the 1000th execution probably later in November, it's time for everybody to write letters to newspapers--and point to the possibility of innocence. Marlin Gray, who was executed October 26, had some serious issues of reasonable doubt; so does Reginald Clemons, who received a death sentence for the same murders.

Margaret Phillips

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Marlin Gray

On October 26, Marlin Gray was executed by the state of Missouri for the rape and murder of Julie and Robin Kerry on the Chain of Rocks Bridge near St. Louis in 1991.

Originally the girls' cousin, Thomas Cummins, was arrested, and confessed but retracted the confession claiming his confession had been coerced in police custody. He later filed suit and was reportedly paid $150,000.

Meanwhile four young men were arrested, three of whom received death sentences. Daniel Winfrey was too young for a death sentence; Antonio Richardson originally was sentenced to death but that sentence was commuted to life because a judge, not jury, gave him death. That left Gray and Reginald Clemons, who is still on death row.

These convictions highlight some problems with our criminal justice system. First, the victims, their cousin, and Winfrey are white; Richardson, Clemons, and Gray are/were black.

Second, the evidence is completely dependent on eyewitness testimony and confession. Gray, like Cummins (and Clemons), confessed--Gray confessed only to rape--but retracted their confessions claiming coercive interrogation techniques. The other evidence was what others said. Since each one had something to gain for pointing the finger, the testimony of all of them is inherently untrustworthy.

Abolish the death penalty!

Please add your own comments and join the conversation.

Margaret Phillips