Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Georgia Man In Prison 21 Years After Wrongful Conviction

DNA evidence to free convicted rapist
Willie O. Williams spent 21 years in prison for crime he did not commit

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/22/07

Convicted rapist Willie O. Williams will be released from prison Tuesday after spending 21 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
"We are convinced today Mr. Williams was not responsible for this," Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard said at an afternoon press conference today.

Howard said has started an investigation to find who was the actual rapist in the April 1985 attack on a woman at an apartment complex parking lot in Sandy Springs.
Williams was exonerated based on DNA evidence that was tested through a request of the Georgia Innocence Project, who had received a letter from Williams in July 2005 saying he had been wrongly imprisoned for two decades.

Williams was convicted based on eye-witness testimony by the victim.
Howard said Williams will be brought back to Fulton Tuesday from the D. Ray James Correctional Facility in Folkston. He will be released on bond through the Fulton County Jail before the charges are officially cleared in about two weeks.

This is why I am not enthusiastic about the Death Penalty. What if this were a murder case and the defendant was on Death Row? Could you imagine that kind of mental anguish?

But now that he's out... how do you compensate someone who lost 21 years? Most States don't have an adequate system for repaying those who have been wrongfully convicted. Some are reluctant to even give an apology.

But what is a fair price for 21 years of someones life?


Anonymous said...

This man and his family lost a huge portion of his life. I doubt any amount of money could compensate for that (although it could help!). Unfortunately it will probably take a few more years to get a clean criminal record and even longer to get him accustomed to the "outside". I believe all cases, of a questionable nature, should have DNA tests performed for verification. A small task to save an innocent person 22 years of his life...

Anonymous said...

I thought you may be interested in this story. This Book Changed my mind about the Death Penalty. I feel the more people know about these issues maybe some things will change. At one time I wrote this about the book I read.... Who And Where Is Dennis Fritz, You may say after reading John Grisham's Wonderful Book "The Innocent man", Grisham's First non-fiction book. The Other Innocent Man hardly mentioned in "The Innocent Man" has his own compelling and fascinating story to tell in "Journey Toward Justice". John Grisham endorsed Dennis Fritz's Book on the Front Cover. Dennis Fritz wrote his Book Published by Seven Locks Press, to bring awareness about False Convictions, and The Death Penalty. "Journey Toward Justice" is a testimony to the Triumph of the Human Spirit and is a Stunning and Shocking Memoir. Dennis Fritz was wrongfully convicted of murder after a swift trail. The only thing that saved him from the Death Penalty was a lone vote from a juror. "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham is all about Ronnie Williamson, Dennis Fritz's was his co-defendant. Ronnie Williamson was sentenced to the Death Penalty. Both were exonerated after spending 12 years in prison. Both Freed by a simple DNA test, The real killer was one of the Prosecution's Key Witness. John Grisham's "The Innocent Man" tells half the story. Dennis Fritz's Story needs to be heard. Read about how he wrote hundreds of letters and appellate briefs in his own defense and immersed himself in an intense study of law. He was a school teacher and a ordinary man from Ada Oklahoma, whose wife was brutally murdered in 1975. On May 8, 1987 while raising his young daughter alone, he was put under arrest and on his way to jail on charges of rape and murder. Since then, it has been a long hard road filled with twist and turns. Dennis Fritz is now on his "Journey Toward Justice". He never blamed the Lord and solely relied on his faith in God to make it through. He waited for God's time and never gave up.