Innocent Man on Death Row Speaks

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FAYETTEVILLE, AR– An Alabama man, Greg Drinkard, served five years on death row after being wrongfully convicted of a robbery murder.  He talked with students, Tuesday, hoping to end the death penalty.

“My wife and myself and my children were laying in bed asleep and the house was broken into by a bunch of police officers, some of them masked, and we didn’t know what was going on,” Drinkard said.

In 1993, Greg Drinkard was convicted of killing a man in Alabama, and sentenced to death. He attributes that to under qualified attorneys.

“Every attorney should be qualified to handle a death row case, [and] they aren’t. I mean on my first trial the attorney’s salary cap was at a $1,000,” Drinkard said.

He was exonerated after five years on death row, and now travels the country as a member of ‘Witness to Innocence’, hoping to abolish the death penalty.

“There’s more ways to be tough on crime than killing people,” Drinkard said.

Arkansas State Representative, Rebecca Petty, disagrees. Her own daughter’s killer was sentenced to death, but remains in prison. As she told us in November, she’s now an advocate for victims’ rights.

“I know the shoes the crime victims walk in,” Petty said.

The state of Arkansas has not executed anyone since 2005.

“One way or the other, justice needs to be served,” Petty said.

In Drinkard’s case, a second trial proved him innocent.

“I was ecstatic you know I get to go free, but still there was that paranoia in the back of your mind that you beat them once and they’re going to come after you again,” Drinkard said.

And he believes there are other death row inmates, in the same situation.

“You just gotta keep trying to keep believing in where’s there’s life there’s hope,” Drinkard said.

That’s why he spoke to law students at the University of Arkansas, Tuesday.

“I was hoping that my mission is to change one persons mind. The death penalty is not a deterrent, so why would you have it. It costs three to four times more than it does to keep someone alive for the rest of their life, so why would you kill somebody. You can’t teach people killing is wrong by killing them,” Drinkard said.

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