When Olin “Pete” Coones, Jr., was locked behind prison walls for a Kansas City, Kansas, murder he did not commit, the state reduced his identity to an offender number, his daughter said: #93985.
“I, however, have my own series of numbers,” Melody Bitzer told a panel of Kansas lawmakers Tuesday.
“12: that’s the number of years my dad was wrongfully imprisoned. 14: that’s the age I was the day my family was torn apart. 27: the age I was when the truth was finally released to the public. 108: the number of days my father was allowed to be the free, innocent man that he was, before the cancer that went undiagnosed and untreated during his wrongful incarceration took his life permanently.”
That, Bitzer said, brought her to 2366 — the number on a bill before the House Judiciary Committee that, had it been law in 2009, could have prevented her father’s wrongful conviction. He might still be alive today, she said.
“Opposing this bill could quite literally mean life or death for an innocent person,” Bitzer said. Read more –>