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After Death Row

The BBC talks to a man who spent 14-years on death row before new evidence led to his release from jail.

African American John Thompson was wrongly convicted of killing a white hotel executive called Ray Liuzza and spent 14-years on death row in Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana. He appealed six execution dates before new evidence was uncovered and his sentence was quashed in a retrial. In 2003 he was freed. He told the BBC: “I was glad to be coming home. I was overwhelmed with the thought of me having my freedom, but at the same time I was scared to death because I didn’t know what I was coming in to. I didn’t know where I was going. I only had a mother. My two sons had grown. I was coming into a world where I had no future – I didn’t know what to expect.” He has since set up a charity to support other wrongly convicted death row inmates fit back into society upon release. It provides housing, work opportunities and counselling. “When you come home you need some total psychological rehab. You need somebody to sit down with you and talk to you and let you know that what you just experienced was wrong,” he said.


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