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Biography: Unwritten
Acknowledgements & Notes

A great deal of thanks to Sister Helen Prejean for her tireless work to end the death penalty and raise awareness of the tragedy of wrongful convictions.  Reading her book Dead Man Walking nearly 30 years ago was eye-opening and served as a catalyst for my exploration into the history and continued use of capital punishment in the United States.  


And to Kirk Bloodsworth, whose horrifying story of being wrongfully convicted was one of the first I read about many years ago.  Learning about Bloodsworth’s conviction and death sentence for a crime he did not commit and his subsequent exoneration through DNA evidence -- the first in the United States -- compelled me to explore and “speak out” about the inhumanity of wrongful convictions and the death penalty through my art.  Since his release and exoneration, Kirk Bloodsworth has worked tirelessly as an activist to abolish capital punishment and end wrongful convictions.


While researching Biography: Unwritten, I comb through numerous resources, gathering information on the men and women who have been exonerated from death row.  The titles of my books imply they are biographies, with subtitles suggesting details about the person’s life, often prior to becoming entangled in the criminal justice system.  The final page of each book, the epilogue, contains a simple paraphrased sentence, completing the prompt “Missed…”, as in “Missed building a credit history.”  These “Missed” statements reveal a milestone or simple moment, which was lost while incarcerated, usually with lifelong consequences. Factual information regarding the subject’s time on death row completes each epilogue.

The following organizations have provided a wealth of information


My starting resource has been, and continues to be, the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), whose Innocence Database has been an invaluable source of primary and in-depth information.


The Innocence Project


Witness to Innocence


Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

The National Registry of Exonerations

A project of the University of California, Irvine Newkirk Center for Science & Society, University of Michigan Law School, and Michigan State University College of Law.



Innocence Database:


Countless newspapers and other media have provided substantial background information.  


The following list is a sampling of some of the sources which were especially helpful in researching the corresponding people



Fields-Meyer, et al, December 2, 2022. Free At Last.  People



Butler-Smith, Sabrina. “Sabrina’s Near-Death Experience”, YouTube via Witness to Innocence,


Sharp, Rachel, December 21, 2021. Sabrina Butler-Smith: The fight for freedom of the first woman ever exonerated from death row in the US.  Independent



May 29, 2004.  Convicted Man Free After 17 Years.  Herald and Review


McGee, Noelle, May 29, 2004. Double-murder charge dropped, inmate freed.  The News-Gazette



Chebium, Raju, June 20, 2000.  Kirk Bloodsworth, twice convicted of rape and murder, exonerated by DNA evidence.



Rimer, Sara, December 10, 2000. Life After Death Row.  The New York Times



The Exonerated. Directed by Bob Balaban, Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Delroy Lindo, Aidan Quinn, Susan Sarandon, Court TV / Radical Media, 2005.


Freedberg, Sydney P., July 4, 1999.  The 13 Other Survivors and Their Stories.

St. Petersburg Times


“Glynn Simmons Exonerated 48 Years After He Was Sentenced to Death in Oklahoma,” Death Penalty Information Center, September 20, 2023,


Hattenstone, Simon, February 28, 2024. “I spent 48 years in prison for a murder I didn’t commit.  Here’s how I fought my way to freedom.  The Guardian.


Osborne, Deon, September 11, 2023. Glynn Simmons: Black Man’s 48-Year Prison Case Dismissed.  The Black Wall Street Times


April 18, 1974. Inmate Freed; ‘It’s a Miracle,’ Says Mother. Winston-Salem Journal

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