Curtis McCarty, an innocent man who spent 19 years on death row in Oklahoma will be one of the speakers at the Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break March 15-19 in Austin, Texas. Curtis is attending as a member of Witness to Innocence. He will join exonerees Shujaa Graham, Curtis McCarty, Ron Keine, Derrick Jamison, Juan Melendez and Perry Cobb at the alternative spring break to speak with participants about how innocent people can end up on death row.
Join us March 15-19, 2010 in Austin, Texas for the award-winning Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break. It starts at 4:30 PM on Monday, March 15. The location is the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center - CMA room 3.112 on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. CMA is on the corner of Whitis Avenue and Dean Keeton, (Google Map). The room is located on the entrance level of the building.
It's free, except for a $25 housing fee for those who need us to arrange housing for you. We will house you in a shared room with other spring breakers in either a hotel or dorm. You are responsible for your travel, food and other expenses, but the program and most of the housing costs are on us. The $25 housing fee is all you pay. Register here.
It is designed for high school and college students to learn and train to be leaders of the next generation of anti-death penalty activists, but it is also for all those who consider themselves students of the world, community, peace and justice. Please look at the schedule and consider attending. All events are open to the public.
Juries frequently rely on the testimony of forensic evidence experts to reach just conclusions in criminal trials. What happens when an expert lies in order to win a conviction?
When 18-year-old Pamela Kaye Willis was raped, stabbed, and strangled in her Oklahoma City home on December 10, 1982, Curtis McCarty became a suspect because he was acquainted with her. Soon after the murder in 1983, forensic analyst Joyce Gilchrist examined hairs from the crime scene and found they didnot match McCarty’s. Police interviewed McCarty several times over the next three years, but he was not arrested until 1985. During the three years of police questioning, Gilchrist secretly altered her notes to declare that the crime scene hairs could have been McCarty’s. Attorneys for McCarty did not discover the change in Gilchrist’s notes until 2000, when she underwent investigation for fraud in other cases. When the defense requested retesting of the hairs, the evidence had either been lost or destroyed deliberately. Gilchrist, implicated in two other cases that sent innocent men to death row, was later fired from her job with the Oklahoma City police department.
Curtis McCarty was sentenced to die three times and spent 21 years in prison – 19 on Oklahoma’s death row – for a crime he did not commit before DNA evidence led to his exoneration and release in May 2007.