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Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

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Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

Alabama inmate who twice avoided execution dies in prison infirmary

Alabama's death chamber
A 66-year-old man who killed a Birmingham woman and then escaped from prison and killed a 68-year-old man has died.

Donald Thigpen died Tuesday night in the William Donaldson Corrections Facility in Jefferson County after serving 45 years for the murders which happened in the 1970s.

Thigpen was found unresponsive in his infirmary bed at 7:55 p.m., according to the Jefferson County Coroner's Office, and pronounced dead five minutes later. There was no foul play in his death.

Thigpen was convicted in May 1972 shotgun shooting death of his girlfriend, Cassie Lee Davis. The shooting happened in one of Birmingham's public housing communities where the victim lived. Authorities said Birmingham Housing Authority officials had told Davis that Thigpen could not live with her and that had been conveyed to Thigpen.

Witnesses testified that Thigpen, while gathering his belongings to leave, picked up the single-barrel, sawed-off shotgun from a table, pointed it at Davis and fired. He then left the apartment and returned a moment later, asking, "Did I kill her?" The shooting happened in front of a public housing manager.

Thigpen was convicted and sentenced to death. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals later reduced to the sentence to life in prison.

While serving that life sentence, Thigpen and 10 other inmates in April 1975 escaped from Alabama's Holman Prison. The next day, Thigpen and another one of the escapees, came across a 68-year-old farmer who was building a fence along a roadway way.

Authorities said one of the escapees killed Henry Lambeth with an ax or fence post and fled in his pickup truck. Again, Thigpen was sentenced to death but escaped execution when the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruled out the death penalty statute under which Thigpen was sentenced.

Source: AL.com, Carol Robinson, June 6, 2018


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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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