Michael Morton finally regains his freedom, after spending nearly 25 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit -- and the Innocence Project, one of our grantees, led the charge for his release. Morton was convicted of beating his wife to death in 1986, and sentenced to life in prison. But DNA tests now show he didn't commit the crime, and that in fact, a convicted felon was responsible for the murder. The Innocence Project helps exonerate inmates, using DNA testing that often wasn't available when they were tried.
Morton's story raises more concerns about the district attorney in his case, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry. John Bradley wasn't the original DA who tried Morton -- but he's now accused of suppressing evidence that could have led to an earlier release. And that's not all. Bradley has come under scrutiny for his tenure as chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission. During that time, the commission investigated the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham for the arson deaths of his three children. Bradley refuted many of the findings that would have cleared Willingham of any wrongdoing, calling him a "guilty monster." Bradley no longer heads the commission. The Innocence Project originally filed the complaint about the case, which has drawn national attention.
The Overbrook Foundation applauds the Innoncence Project for its latest victory, leading to the release of a wrongfully convicted man, and for its ongoing commitment to criminal justice reform.
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