Justice: Denied -- The Magazine for the Wrongly Convicted

 

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In remembrance of Freddie Lee Wright.

Roger McQueen was among those who falsely implicated Freddie Wright in the murders they committed. At a 1996 federal hearing in Mobile, however, McQueen recanted his trial testimony and said he had lied when he identified Wright as the killer. McQueen looked over at Wright from the witness stand and said: "I'm sorry, dude."

It has been a mournful time for many over several deaths of people profiled in Justice Denied. Among them was Freddie Lee Wright. In a letter written to the JD Staff more than a month ago, Freddie expressed his gratitude for our having profiled him. He held out hope until the last minute that his plea of innocence would be heard.

Freddie was not heard. Not when he first proclaimed his innocence, nor down through the years. Freddie Lee Wright's death is a darker stain on Alabama's already stained track record for executions and imprisonment of those who've claimed innocence.

We not only call on Alabama, but on every state that still practices legally sanctioned murder, to stop killing people until there is a foolproof method of making sure a convicted person is guilty. As of now, every state's justice system is committing irreversible errors, and routinely taking the lives of possibly innocent people. In Illinois, this has been proved over and over, but the same facts hold true for all other killing states.

We mourn Freddie's death. He was never given the opportunity to prove his case for innocence. Let us unite so that won't happen anymore.

Mildred H. Barnet came to know Freddie after he had spent many years in prison, visiting him and writing to him. She was impressed with Freddie, calling him a "beautiful, lovely person," and "this precious man."

In memory of Freddie, Millie Barnet has written a moving poem. A dirge of sorrowful lament for our loss. If Freddie was innocent, we have all incurred a debt we can never erase.


In memory of Freddie Lee Wright, executed by the State of Alabama March 3, 2000

The Long Nightmare is Over


Yesterday I heard your living voice
Now it is stilled forever
Your lifeless burned body
in its new burial suit
can finally emerge from the tomb
into which you were plunged
shocked, unbelieving,
over two decades ago,
a young handsome man,
very tall, very slim,
"Stringbean" they called you
with sweet face and
fine eyes
seeing not believing
as they snapped your photo for
the newspaper

How could you imagine,
caught by the camera's flash
like a deer in the headlights
you would enter a tunnel
so dark and so winding and
leading at last after 21 years
to this

Yesterday I heard your living voice
speak of ordinary things
like your little grandniece
being spoiled
Angel
who told me one early morning, crying,
she had dreamed of jail
and wanted to see Uncle Freddie
Now you can visit her in dreams
not of terror I hope but of comfort

Recently I met you for the first time
after months of correspondence
Surprised at your beauty
for your photos didn't do justice
despite the weary eyes, grey hair,
untreated illness aging
beyond your 48 years
A sober face slow to smile
but then breaking forth like morning sunshine
after an all-night rain

You told me it had been like a nightmare
from which you would surely awaken
Years went by,
hope flickered
but never went out

Yesterday I heard your living voice
saying the Supreme Court
might still rule in your favor
I waited ...
A little past midnight in Alabama
a woman who has long loved you
and loves you forever as her one and only
called to tell me
it's over.

In loving remembrance, Millie Barnet

Justice Denied

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