May 7, 2012 1:00 AM by Jacqui Heinrich

Locals rally against death penalty after man's exoneration

Imagine spending 17 years in prison for a crime you didn't commit; that's Robert Dewey's reality. He's now a free man thanks to DNA testing but he's reentering a world much different than the one he left, and his case is bringing another issue to light: the death penalty.

Dewey was jailed for a Grand Junction rape and murder back in 1996. Now a local group is saying his wrongful conviction is another reason to abolish the death penalty. "You can release somebody who is innocent and wrongfully convicted from prison, but if you put them to death you cant release them from the grave," Roger Butts, an organizer with Coloradoans For Alternatives To The Death Penalty says.

According to the Innocence Project, 289 death row inmates have been set free by DNA testing. This time, it freed Dewey and also proved who was truly behind that hideous crime: a man named Douglas Thames. He's already serving a life sentence for a 1989 Fort Collins murder.



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