It is important to remember that there are people with strong innocence claims all across the country. Just off the top of my head, I think of Max Soffar of Texas, Anthony Graves of Texas, Justin Wolfe of Virginia and Troy Davis of Georgia.
Now comes the Central Pensylvania Abolitionist to remind us of the case of Walter Ogrod, who languishes away on Pennsylvania's death row despite a formidable argument that he is innocent:
Walter Ogrod: Innocent and sentenced to death
I recently received correspondence from Walter Ogrod, a prisoner on Pennsylvania's death row. Walter sent me a copy of a two-part Philadelphia City Paper series on his case from June, 2004, so last night I sat down and read the articles. Although we abolitionists certainly know that there are more innocent people on death row, it's still stunning to read the individual stories.
You can read all the dirty details in the articles, but here's the basic
breakdown. Walter was convicted and sentenced to death in 1996 for the 1988
murder of a four-year-old girl in his NE Philly neighborhood. No physical
evidence linked him to the crime. A witness who spoke with the killer (not
knowing at the time that he was the killer) described someone 5-8 inches shorter
than Walter and with different color hair.
Walter was convicted in part by a confession he claimed was coerced out of
him by two Philadelphia detectives. He visited the police station after working
an all-night shift and had been awake a total of 30 hours when he made this
At trial, the defense shot holes in the case. Walter was seconds away from
walking away a free man from this nightmare, but one juror blurted out, "I
disagree," as the jury foreman was reading the "not guilty" verdict. The judge
declared a mistrial, and in the interim between the mistrial and the retrial, a
jailhouse snitch emerged to weave a tall tale about Walter's connection to the
You can read all the horrifying details here:
Snitch Work Part 1
Snitch Work Part 2