Saturday, March 31, 2007

Missouri Man Freed After 11 Years In Prison

Antonio Beaver was Imprisoned for a Crime That He Did Not Commit

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A man who spent 11 years in prison for a carjacking he didn't commit was freed Thursday after DNA analysis exonerated him.

Antonio Beaver, 41, arrived in court wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. Shortly afterward, he was wearing a sport coat and slacks, addressing reporters during his first moments of freedom.
``This feels strange,'' Beaver said. ``I'd like to give my thanks to God, because there is a God, and he knew I was innocent from the start.''

Beaver was convicted of robbery in 1997 and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
In the crime for which he was convicted, someone threatened a woman with a screwdriver and stole her car after a struggle. The woman stabbed the man with the screwdriver, leaving traces of the carjacker's blood in the car.

The victim identified Beaver in a lineup, but his lawyers say the lineup was flawed.
DNA testing at the time couldn't provide conclusive results, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said.

In 2001 Beaver filed his own motion for a new DNA test, and he was later assisted by the Innocence Project, a legal center that seeks to uncover wrongful convictions.
Beaver said he plans to stay with an uncle.

This is at least the second Missouri man in recent months to be freed as a result of DNA testing and the work of the Innocence Project.

This situation (of so many wrongly convicted) is the result of an inadequate Public Defender system, which more often than not leaves poor defendants at the mercy of Court budgets, the chronic lack of staff in State and Federal Courts, and lawyers who rarely have their best interests in mind.

Thanks to the Innocence Project, at least a few innocent defendants are getting the assistance that they need.

And just to reiterate- It was the Innocence Project... NOT the NAACP that helped Mr. Beaver and dozens of others in his same situation.


AAPP said...

Great post. There are hundreds if not thousands of innocent people in jail across America. If black basketball, footblall, baseball and other sport players, and black entertainers wanted to do something more positive with their "collective" billions of dollars, they surely could support this project. They do great work. This brotha should sue the Criminal justice system, the county, state and anyone else involved in his wrongful conviction.

This is a stron brotha. I wish him well. Regarding the NAACP. Well, the local branch was involved with getting Shaquanda Cotton released, but they have no strategey on how to address these civil rights abuses, nationally or locally. When brotha Bruce was putting plans in place he was constructively terminated.

AAPP said...

He is truly a "strong" brotha!