I had no idea I was about to spend the next 18 1/2 years behind bars, including 12 years on death row, trying to prove my innocence.
My innocence is the very thing I relied on after my arrest.
In addition, homicides are usually committed in the heat of anger or deep emotion while either under the influence of substances or mentally ill (Death Penalty Does Not Deter Crimes, 2015).
In result of this we should try to help these people instead of ending their lives.
However, I believe that the death penalty can be substituted by a sentence to life in prison. As observed, states in the United States that don't use the death penalty have a lower murder rate that that of the states that do (Death Penalty Does Not Deter Crimes, 2015).
For example, there was a forty six percent lower rate of murder in non death penalty states than in death penalty states ("Death Penalty Does Not Deter Crimes.", 2015).I also witnessed how judges seem to give wide leeway to prosecutors, instead of heeding the actual facts.All of these things eventually led to my wrongful conviction.Perhaps this is inevitable for poor black men in Texas, once the yoke of an arrest for murder is tightly fitted around our necks. In November 1994, two and a half years after my arrest, I was sentenced to death by the state of Texas for a crime I did not commit.The criminal justice system had stolen my freedom, and now Texas wanted to take my life. Over the next 14 years, 500 men were put on death row in the state of Texas, each controlled by a system built to torture them for the rest of their lives.I witnessed the role of the media in shaping opinions around cases before trial.In my case, I was found guilty in the court of public opinion long before I ever saw a jury of my peers.I watched as my mother’s hair started turning gray, and soon I no longer heard much from the rest of my family. Having the courage to cling to hope is not always easy in situations like this. I knew then that, of the things I could control, I wasn’t going to give the most important one to the state of Texas.Oftentimes I would question God, but in truth, hope was all I had. I remember getting my first execution date, one of two literal dates with death. By that point, I had seen many men taken from their cells to be executed. But when I was given my dates, my first thought was to tell myself that I had the power to live until I died. From that day on, I started reaching out in earnest to pen pals in Europe, family and friends, to anyone who would listen to me share my story, in the hope that someone would help save my life.I cooperated with law enforcement 110%, so sure was I that the whole thing was some crazy mistake.I did everything they asked of me — but quickly came to understand that what the officers wanted more than anything was an indictment, then a conviction.