Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
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For over two
decades, Nicholas Yarris has been living a nightmare inside of a
It is surely
nightmare enough to 'live' on Death Row, a netherworld of the damned,
where one is locked in a cell for 22 hours a day (48 hours of weekends).
There are, in
fact worse things. Imagine being thought a rapist and a murderer?
What if one
For over 20
years Nick has been insisting on his innocence, but few folks cared
For the last
10 years he has fought for DNA testing, but always the tests came
back, marked "inconclusive."
That is, until
federal lawyers filed a motion in his pending habeas corpus proceedings.
According to a motion filed by Asst. Federal Defender Christina
is now clear: Mr. Yarris should not be required to spend another
moment behind bars, much less on death row. He is innocent of this
offense and should be freed..."
wrote these words because they recently received the results of
his latest DNA test, performed by a DNA expert of national renown,
Edward Blake of Forensic Science Associates in Richmond, California.
The tests researched three samples
from the murder/rape victim, a 32-year old mother named Linda Mae
Craig. The tests involved sperm taken from her body, skin from under
her fingernails, and evidence retrieved from a glove that DAs said
the rapist used during the attack. None of the
Since 1981 the
prosecutors have claimed that Yarris gave a jailhouse confession.
That evidence too, seems as worthless as the physical evidence.
Yet the DAs
in Delaware County are unwilling, or unable to let Nick go. They
have announced that they will fight his release. In an incredible
statement, DA G. Michael Green claimed, "DNA testing results
in and of themselves do not establish Yarris' innocence, nor do
these results indicate a wrongful conviction." (Legal Intelligencer,
7/29/0, pp. 1,6).
Yarris remains under the harrowing conditions of Death Row.
It is up to
a judge ... again.
For 21 years
every judge he has gone in front of has essentially echoed the DAs
arguments, that is was he who raped and murdered the victim in December
1981. They have claimed that he did so because the decedent bore
a remarkable resemblance to an old girlfriend of his, who he was
angry at. They claimed a jailhouse confession given by a silly,
Now, in the
face of DNA evidence that conclusively proves he did not rape or
kill her, the DA announced that DNA is irrelevant.
Of such chimera
is the America Death Penalty Machine constructed.
lawyer here on Death Row pointed to another reason that proved his
innocence, and while not scientific (like DNA) it had the irresistible
pull of logic. He argued, quite convincingly, that Yarris, from
his earliest youth, was a notorious thief. He boasts a long string
of such offenses on his record.
Yet the victim's
body, when she was found, had every bit of jewelry, on her finger,
and around her neck, intact. A thief would've been compelled to
It makes sense
Yarris, longs for an end to his 21-year nightmare.
May it not be
long in coming.
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.