by Julia Ward
While we do have an excellent justice system in the United States, it is far from perfect. Before attending a lecture given by Ray Krone at Lafayette College, I trusted the justice system for all of the decisions that it has made. But the fact that there are over 100 people today who have been on death row who were wrongly accused and now considered innocent is extremely shocking and disheartening.
Krone was in prison for ten years and spent four of those years on death row…for a crime that he did not commit. In 1992, a woman was found dead in the local bar where she worked in Phoenix, Arizona. Immediately Krone was questioned and considered a suspect because the bite marks on the woman’s body “matched” those of Krone. For the next ten years he spent his life behind bars, frustrated and outraged as he knew that he had no connection to the murder whatsoever. When he was sentenced to death he lived in a 6 x 8 room and was only allowed outside for recreational activities three times a week for two hours each time. Krone was never given a hot meal, and made his own pillow by wrapping his towel around his sneakers each evening.
In February of 1996, Krone was given another trial. It was obvious at this point that the prosecution was hiding information. Photos taken from the crime scene were missing along with other key information. Krone, his attorney, and his family were extremely upset and annoyed due to the fact that the defendant has the right to all evidence. He was found guilty again, but taken off the death penalty. The judge sentenced him 46 years till parole. After this, Krone spent a year and a half without stepping a foot outside. But still Krone and his family remained hopeful.
In 2002 with the help of his attorney, he convinced the appeals court to retest the DNA, which found out that Kenneth Phillips’ DNA was a perfect match. The prosecution dropped the charges soon afterwards and Krone was released from prison at the age of 45. He had spent 10 years, 3 months, and 8 days behind bars.
At the end of his story he offered the audience some words of advice. As young students, he explained that we must unite, under one common faith in order to get change done. That was exactly what Ray Krone, his family, and his attorney did. They never lost hope and turned the case around. Also, he preached that we must find strength, as their are bigger and better things out there for everyone to achieve.
Everyone must be aware that our justice system is seriously flawed. Those in prison today may not actually be guilty; 138 people have been exonerated, including Ray Krone. It is up to us as citizens to live up to our duties as Americans–when you are called to jury duty, go.