Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Innocent man who spent 30 years on death row for a murder he didn't commit dies of cancer after just one year of freedom

Father-of-four Glenn Ford was exonerated in March 2014 of robbing and killing a watchmaker in Shreveport in a 1983 murder which he spent over 30 years behind bars for. He was released from prison after the state said it uncovered evidence proving he wasn't at the crime scene.

In a release his supporters on Crowd Rise wrote: 'At 2:11 this morning, Monday June 29th 2015, Glenn slipped away very quietly and peacefully. 'He was held and surrounded by people who cared about him, and was listening to a song he loved.

Alison McCrary, a civil rights attorney who volunteered at Resurrection After Exoneration, told NBC News that Ford hadn't been diagnosed at Angola, the state prison where he was incarcerated, with the various cancers that killed him, including lung, brain and bone cancer.

After he left prison, he learned he had Stage 3 lung cancer, which then progressed to Stage 4. His medical costs which amounted to about $2,000 a week were paid by private donations, she said.

Ford hadn't been able to speak for roughly the last week, and he was in 'excruciating pain' when he died, McCrary said. But she added: 'There's also a peacefulness about Glenn. He had no hatred in his heart. He was really looking forward to the afterlife.'

Ford walked free from Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola on March 11, 2014, wearing a jean jacket, sweater and beanie hat and carrying all of his worldly possessions in two tiny boxes.

As he walked out of the prison gates, he said he was sad he had not been around to raise his now-adult sons, but added: 'It feels good; my mind is going in all kind of directions. It feels good.'

Earlier this year, the prosecutor who said he 'was to blame' for putting Ford on death row, A.M. 'Marty' Stroud III, apologized for the conviction and met with Ford.

Ford said he refused to get angry over his situation. 'I'm upset, yes, but it's not my driving force,' Ford said. He added: '[My driving force] is to get well as I possibly can. I can't do that being mad at Marty Stroud.'

'I want you to know that I am very sorry,' Stroud said during the somber meeting, which was filmed by abc Nightline. 'It's a stain on me that will be with me until I go to my grave.'

'Right,' Ford responded, without looking up. 'But it still cost me 31 years of my life and then nothing at the end but death because they give me from six to eight months to live.'

Stroud also wrote him a letter in which he admitted that he was to blame for mistakenly putting Ford behind bars for the fatal shooting of a jeweler, despite no murder weapon or witnesses placing him at the scene.

'In 1984, I was 33 years old,' he wrote. 'I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.'

Original report here

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