But, I Didn’t Do It…

But, I Didn’t Do It…

by Nancy Koerner

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Although we are a nation divided by many issues – political party affiliation, conflicting views on immigration, racial diversity, gender equality, abortion rights, etc. – I have yet to encounter a single person who is not horrified by the concept of wrongful conviction.

A sense of fairness is something that comes to us early in life. By the time kids are three or four years old, they have already developed a keen sense of what is fair, and what is not. Just try breaking a cookie in half for two siblings to share, and you are bound to get a raised eyebrow, and a cry of “Hey, his half is bigger than mine!” We are taught from an early age that life is supposed to be fair, that if you are a good person and play by the rules, you will live a life of just reward. So, when we are treated unjustly, our reaction is that of righteous indignation, if not total outrage.

But, indeed, life is not fair.

So, imagine that you are going about your daily life, arriving at home from work on any given weekday. Or watching football while having a beer on a Saturday afternoon. Imagine the reality of multiple cop cars screeching up to your home. Lights flashing, sirens blazing. Officers emerging, guns drawn, a look of deadly purpose in their eyes. And they are coming for YOU. They use a bullhorn. “Get down. Put your hands behind your back!” You are violently wrestled to the ground – face down. You feel cold steel cuffs lock in. You dare not protest, or even speak. And you must not resist.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

They push your head down, and shove you into the back seat of the cop car. What is going on? After all, you are a good citizen. You pay your taxes. You have no criminal record. OK, so there was that one time when you were 12, when you hit your brother on the head with a walnut, but that wasn’t a crime. In seconds, a thousand thoughts go through your head. Inside, you are screaming. “What did I do? What did I do?” And you can think of nothing. Absolutely nothing.

For one young man in Alabama, Murray Lawrence, Jr., the unthinkable had happened. In 2004, while doing his job at the Grand Hotel in Fairhope, the cops had arrived and arrested him. It was a nightmare that has never ended. Murray was charged with a murder he did not commit. And, from that moment on, to this very day, he has seen life only through prison bars.

He was 24 then. Now, he is 42.

Murray knew the murderer – they had been casual friends. But he had been 30 miles away from the crime scene that night, and did not even know the victim. And when it came down to it, this “friend” had framed him as a co-conspirator in order to avoid the death penalty.

Murray could not conceive of actually going to jail, because knew he was innocent. Surely, things would come out right. Surely, he couldn’t be convicted for something he didn’t do. These feelings of denial tie in with a concept called “deus ex machina” – Latin for “god from the machine.” It is often written into the plotline of a story, when the hero is in critical difficulty, and needs a sudden and unexpected miracle rescue. But God did not emerge from the machine. As a result, Murray has remained incarcerated in Holman Prison for the last 18 years, sentenced to “life without parole,” for a crime he did not commit.

It is a twisted tale of greed, violence, and treachery – one you will never forget.

Please check out deal-with-the-devil.com for the FULL STORY. Please DONATE to our fundraiser, sign the PETITION, and then stay tuned to The Ripp Report for further developments – as we, the social justice advocates for Murray “Bubba” Lawrence, Jr. continue to pursue his vindication and exoneration.

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