TO THE EDITOR:
Since 1977, at least six people have been wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder in North Carolina. That means that for every seven people executed in our state, one innocent person has been released from death row. Unless current flaws can be addressed, the next innocent inmate might not be so lucky.
Today, former death row inmate Alan Gell will be speaking about the nine years he spent behind bars for a 1995 murder he didn't commit. After serving four of those years on death row, Gell was granted a new trial in 2002, in which a judge found that the attorney general's office had withheld compelling evidence of Gell's innocence.
Such evidence included 17 witness statements maintaining that the victim was seen after the alleged time of the murder, as well as a tape indicating that a key witness planned to frame Gell - all of which had been withheld from the defense. Gell was released Feb. 18 and has since become a leading advocate for the moratorium campaign.
Our death penalty system suffers from more than staggering negative statistics. Real lives are affected, and often destroyed, by such pervading injustices. Come learn why the time has come for North Carolina to put a two-year halt on executions, so that we can examine what's going wrong. The event will take place at 7 p.m. in 103 Bingham Hall and will be followed by a question-and-answer session.