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Innocent on Death Row


Monday, September 25, 2017   

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – An innocent man who spent 10 years behind bars in Arizona, including three on death row, brings his story to Kentucky this week – one of the 31 states where execution remains legal.

In 2002, Ray Krone became the 100th person in the United States to be exonerated from death row since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.

That number is now up to 159 – cases Krone says prove the system is flawed and that's why Kentucky needs to make life without the possibility of parole the maximum sentence.

"I supported the death penalty,” he relates. “I thought it worked. I thought it was fair and just.

“But my experiences have showed, definitely not. To stay strong and to continue to fight a system that just overwhelms you with their power and the money, you're very fortunate to ever have the opportunity to prove you're innocent."

Six years ago, an American Bar Association report found Kentucky's death penalty system was so broken there should be a moratorium until it could be "repaired."

Krone is co-founder of the Witness to Innocence project – a movement led by death row survivors who advocate for abolition.

Krone will speak in Pikeville on Tuesday night, in London on Wednesday afternoon and in Grayson on Thursday evening.

Wrongly convicted of murder in 1992, DNA evidence was used to prove Krone innocent. He says his conviction was based on "junk science" and prosecutorial misconduct.

In Kentucky, those who support the death penalty, including lawmakers who refuse to change the law, often say it's a deterrent to crime.

Krone disagrees.

"It certainly isn't a deterrent,” he counters. “They've proven that the states with the highest death penalties have the higher murder rates. People need to really now stop and consider that this act of vengeance, that it's not a viable solution to our problems."

There are currently 32 men and one woman on death row in Kentucky, a state that carried out its last execution nine years ago.

The real killer in the Arizona murder for which Krone was wrongfully convicted now is behind bars after striking a plea deal to avoid death row.

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