Midnight Hike for Wright

by Clara Douglas in Bridport, Dorset, United Kingdom

Midnight Hike for Wright

Total raised £3,015

raised so far

11

supporters

I am raising money to investigate the wrongful conviction of Freddie Lee Wright and carry out anti-death penalty research in Alabama.

by Clara Douglas in Bridport, Dorset, United Kingdom

New stretch target

If I am able to reach my stretch goal I will be able to rent a vechical in the US. This would mean my team could use our time more efficiently  and we could interview to many more people. 


Freddie Wright's story

Freddie Wright was convicted of murder and robbery in 1979. After initially being acquitted by a mixed-race jury the prosecution appealed the acquittal and a second all-white jury found him guilty. He was executed in 2000.  

Over the years it has become clear that his case was gravely mishandled, riddled with inconsistent testimony and behind the scenes deals with co-defendants in which the prosecution threatened them with the death penalty if they did not testify against Freddie. In fact in a 1996 federal hearing in Mobile,  McQueen recanted his trial testimony later stating that he had lied when he identified Wright as the killer.  McQueen even looked at Wright and said: "I'm sorry, dude".

During his lifetime Freddie fought for his innocence and spoke out against the death penalty. For example in an interview with a New York radio station he said "The death penalty itself, it's not about justice...it's about vengeance. I mean, and the bad part about vengeance is, most people believe in the system so strongly, even if it's an innocent man or when it's been evidence presented to show the person on death row is not the person who committed that crime"

The following is an extract from a poem by Freddie's friend Millie Barnet- '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

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The Post Mortem Project 

To raise money, I will be hiking 22 miles overnight along the South West Costal Path, beginning my walk at 3 minutes past midnight representing the time that Freddie Wright was executed with 22 miles representing the number of years since Freddie's execution. I will be walking from Weymouth prison to the 3DC headquarters in Bridport. 

Your donations will support my 2 months research trip in Birmingham Alabama so I can investigate Freddie's case and aid current death penalty appeals in Alabama. This research is incredibly important in the context that Alabama sentences more people to death per capita than any other state (0.956 per 100,000).

This opportunity was made possible by the The Post Mortem Project. The PMP is led by defence attorney Clive Stafford Smith and will involve young people from across the world g1654347898_screenshot_2022-06-04_at_14.04.29.pngoing to the US and investigating death penalty cases.

So far we believe that there are 206 possible cases of wrongful execution and our list is sadly ever expanding. We hope that our work will help expose legal injustices and  contribute to the campaign to bring an end to the death penalty.

As a law student and an aspiring human rights lawyer this is a fantastic chance to go out into the field and carry out vital research that will hopefully inform my dissertation and help other lawyers with contemporary appeals. I have been working online for over a year with a team in Missouri and am anxious to put investigation skills I have learnt into practice to help more people avoid injustice. 

Lastly, thanks to the generous support of Humanade I will receive 5 to 1 match funding (upto £2500). So even if you only have £1 spare I will receive £5!

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Thank you so much for reading my page! Clara x

Some information about the death penalty

Fourteen days in May- a poignant documentary spanning the last 2 weeks of Edward Earl Johnson, a former client of Clive's, life. 

https://eji.org/issues/death-penalty/- "The question we need to ask about the death penalty in America is not whether someone deserves to die for a crime. The question is whether we deserve to kill"

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/05/us/nathaniel-woods-alabama-sentenced.html- Nate Woods documentary 

https://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article260531507.html- account exploring the experiences of a Doctor who carried out executions

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