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Freed Death Row Inmate Brings Story to KY

PHOTO: Gary Drinkard, exonerated from Alabama's death row, will bring his message that capital punishment makes no sense to Kentucky during a week long speaking tour, beginning tonight. Photo courtesy Parker Digital Imaging.
PHOTO: Gary Drinkard, exonerated from Alabama's death row, will bring his message that capital punishment makes no sense to Kentucky during a week long speaking tour, beginning tonight. Photo courtesy Parker Digital Imaging.
September 22, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Gary Drinkard, who was freed from prison in 2001 after six years on Alabama’s death row,
admits he's still angry at the legal system.

So Drinkard is traveling across Kentucky this week, speaking at churches and colleges about his wrongful conviction.

He is part of Witness to Innocence, an organization that gives a voice to those freed from death row, which Drinkard says enables him to channel his resentment into action.

"If I were to get away from it, I feel like I would be letting a lot of people down, letting the attorneys down that fought for me, letting the people down that are still innocent on death row, letting my family down,” he explains. “I mean, it destroyed my family."

Sentenced to death in 1995 for the robbery and murder of an automotive junk dealer in Decatur, Alabama, Drinkard was granted a new trial by the Alabama Supreme Court in 2000 because of prosecutorial misconduct. He was acquitted in 2001.

Like Alabama, Kentucky is among 32 states where the death penalty remains legal.

Efforts in recent years to make life without parole the maximum sentence have failed to pass the Kentucky General Assembly.

Drinkard maintains his message, that execution makes no sense because it is immoral and too costly, resonates with those willing to listen.

"It helps a lot of people come to the mindset that it's not right," he stresses.

Among the places Drinkard will talk while in Kentucky is at the University of Louisville-Brandeis School of Law.



Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY