Exonerated inmate speaks to abolish capital punishment in Kentucky


Death Row Inmateby: Kentucky New Era  
published: 6 August 2013

Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in Kentucky in 1976, there have been 78 people initially sentenced to capital punishment. And according to two-year study from the American Bar Association’s Kentucky Assessment Team on the Death Penalty, 52 of those people’s convictions were overturned on appeal. That’s a 60 percent error rate, and what the ABA calls a waste of the commonwealth’s resources.

On Monday night, an example of one of those 52 people – whose conviction was not only overturned, but also resulted in his exoneration, though in Illinois – spoke to an attentive crowd at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Hopkinsville, sponsored by the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, to bear witness to his experience being a wrongfully accused on death row and why he has dedicated his life to abolishing the death penalty nationwide.

Randy Steidl, along with his then drinking buddy Herb Whitlock, was arrested and wrongly convicted for the 1986 murders of newlyweds Dyke and Karen Rhoads in Paris, Ill. Steidl was sent to death row, while Whitlock received life in state prison.

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