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Oklahoma Man Exonerated by DNA Testing
Posted: July 19, 2012 5:15 pm
An Oklahoma man who served 16 years for a 1995 burglary and robbery he did not commit was exonerated today by DNA testing.
With the consent of the Tulsa District Attorney’s Office, District Court Judge William C. Kellough overturned Sedrick Courtney’s conviction after DNA testing excluded him as the source of hairs that were recovered from ski masks worn by the two perpetrators who committed the crime.
After Courtney’s lawyers were repeatedly told by the Tulsa Police Department that the crime scene evidence was destroyed, the Innocence Project was finally able to locate the evidence in 2011 and conducted testing that definitively excludes Courtney as the source of the hairs found on the ski masks.
Barry Scheck, Co-director of the Innocence Project and a member of Courtney’s legal team said:
"We are grateful for District Attorney Tim Harris' help in quickly bringing an end to the terrible injustice faced by Mr. Courtney," said Scheck. “Mr. Courtney was able to get the DNA testing that has cleared his name. Undoubtedly there are many others who have not been so fortunate because Oklahoma has the unfortunate distinction of being the only state in the nation that doesn't have a DNA testing law. Hopefully this horrible miscarriage of justice will spur state lawmakers to do the right thing and make it easier for those who have been wrongly convicted to get access to the DNA testing that can clear their names.”
Courtney was paroled in 2011 and joined in court today by family members and other exonerees who have been cleared by DNA testing.
Read today’s press release.
Send a message of congratulations to Sedrick Courtney.
Read more about access to post-conviction DNA testing.
Tags: Oklahoma, Sedrick Courtney
To Thank You for Your Letters of Support
Posted: August 6, 2012 11:50 am
I’m writing to thank the 535 Innocence Project supporters who wrote me letters after my DNA exoneration on July 19. I’m thankful for all the support. If I could, I would shake each hand and hug everybody. I appreciate it sincerely.
I spent 16 years in prison for a Tulsa burglary that I did not commit. I came home on June 6, 2011, on parole, but being exonerated feels different. I’m still working every day, but now I don’t have to check in and get permission from a DOC officer. If I want to leave the state or the country, I can. I’m free now. I live with my wife and our two-year-old son. He’s a blessing. But he won’t let me just sit there and read; he has to be in my lap. So I’ve been reading the letters after he goes to sleep.
They’re from all over the world and they say congratulations, welcome home, and we’re sorry that you had to go through what you went through. They say “tears of joy for you.” I had a few invitations from people in the state or in my town saying I would love to meet you. Some of the people who wrote to me told me stories of their loved ones that had been to prison and had to go through the same thing. Thanks to your letters and the Innocence Project’s support, I know I’m not alone. I’m truly blessed.
Tags: Oklahoma, Sedrick Courtney
"The minute you give up...you die."
Posted: April 25, 2013 3:30 pm
Tags: North Carolina, Sedrick Courtney, Henry James, Raymond Towler, Audrey Edmunds, Innocence Network