Exoneree believes faith saved him: Advocates speak out against death penalty

LIMA — Kwame Ajamu, Derrick Jamison and Ray Krone are just four among hundreds of people across the United States that have been found innocent while on death row. One exoneree believes his faith saved his life.

Jamison was sentenced to life after a false accusation of murder. After years of his execution being placed on hold, a federal judge requested a new trial for Jamison. He was found innocent due to the prosecutor withholding key evidence from his trial. Jamison was released from prison on Oct. 25, 2005, exactly 20 years from the day he entered.

“My mom always taught me ‘when things get hard, pray,’ said Jamison. “I did a lot of praying for me, my friends and family and you know it actually worked.”

A non-profit organization known as Witness to Innocence was founded to share the testimonies of exonerees much like Jamison’s.

WTI was created in 2003 by Sister Helen Prejean, an anti-death penalty activist and Ray Krone, the 100th person freed from death row in the United States.

The two advocates have now joined many other exonerees to speak out against the death penalty. WTI partnered with the Ohio Innocence Project and the #NoDeathPenaltyOH campaign to tour the State of Ohio.

The statewide tour known as the Ohio Innocence tour features those who have been released from death row due to innocence.

The hope of the tour is to raise awareness of the death penalty.

Many exonerees work hard to inform the public and advocate for those who have been wrongly accused of a crime.

The co-founder of WTI has a story of his own.

Krone was arrested for murder in 1992 due to a witness informing authorities he was guilty. Krone served three of his 10 years in prison on death row. After continuing the fight for freedom, a DNA test proved that Krone was not guilty.

“I got a call one day; it was 2002, April 8th,” said Krone. “My attorney said, ‘I just got off the phone with the prosecutor; you are coming home.’ I walked out of that prison to start my life all over at the age of 45. One reporter asked, ‘You mentioned your faith in God and what do you think about him leaving you in prison for 10 years?’ I said, maybe it’s not about the past 10 years but what I do for the next 10.”

Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.