BREAKING: Kennedy Brewer is a Free Man | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

BREAKING: Kennedy Brewer is a Free Man

More to come on this story.

The Jackson Free Press' Ronni Mott called this morning from a Noxubee County Circuit courtroom to say that the judge hearing Kennedy Brewer's case has granted his freedom. There was not a dry eye in the courtroom as Brewer's grandmother lifted her head to the sky, crying out "Thank you Jesus!"

Previous Comments

ID
98595
Comment

This is the most important story in the state right now. Brewer was behind bars 16 years for raping and murdering a toddler—as the evidence that would clear sat unused. He could have been executed. Hail the Innocence Project. Hail John Grisham for his support. Hail Jim Hood for getting involved.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-15T10:57:57-06:00
ID
98596
Comment

And the biggest HAILS, of course, for Ray Carter and the rest of the Capitol Defense attorneys. Saving the best for last!

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-15T11:26:34-06:00
ID
98597
Comment

Hail to Andre DeGruy, Director of the Office of Capital Defense Counsel, and Sheila O'Flaherty, his mitigation expert, for taking over after Ray Carter's effort didn't do any good, for staying on the case until it was completed with a perfect result. All Ray Carter ultimately did right was call the Innocence Project and move out of the way so tht Andre could work with them to bring about freedom at last for Kennedy Brewer.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2008-02-15T11:32:44-06:00
ID
98598
Comment

Ray, thanks for spelling them all out for me. This isn't my story, and Ronni is still in Noxubee County, so I don't know all the specific people who should be thanked. Truly, thank you to all of you for trying to keep this state honest and humane. I know it's a tough row to hoe in a state where witchhunts are more urgent and entertaining to so many than focusing on justice, especially for forgotten black men. I'm bowing down before y'all. Cheers, friend.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-15T11:35:13-06:00
ID
98599
Comment

Ray's calling the Innocence Project into the case didn't sit well with a nameless local co-counsel (not with the Office of Capital Defense Counsel) so Ray found it necessary to get off the case. In the end, it appears that the call to the Innocence Project was a good decision. Everbody is happy now that Kennedy is free, and there aren't any hard feelings I'm aware of. The case was all about Kennedy's innocence, not the lawyers or ancillary matters.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2008-02-15T11:41:55-06:00
ID
98600
Comment

Still, Ray, petty politics should not ever stop the pursuit of justice. The Innocence Project is doing such a wonderful job here. Cedric's case just started the ball rolling. And the more success they have, the more money they should be able to raise. And hopefully all this truth coming out will help us get that death-penalty moratorium we so desperately need.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-15T11:45:59-06:00
ID
98601
Comment

This is great news, but I shudder to think at the 16 years the state has stolen from Brewer. The conduct of DA Forrest Allgood in this case is absolutely astonishing. To quote from Ronni's story: Noxubee District Attorney Forrest Allgood, who originally prosecuted Brewer, vacated the original sentence, but then changed his theory of the crime. Originally saying that Brewer acted alone, Allgood re-arrested Brewer, now saying that he had assisted the actual rapist. Allgood announced that he would again seek the death penalty for Brewer. For six years, however, Allgood failed to bring the second case to trial, leaving Brewer to languish in the Noxubee County jail, ineligible for bail because of the potential death sentence. I don't think that can be emphasized enough: In 2001, DNA proved that Brewer could not have raped the little girl, and yet he spent another six years on death row on the basis of no evidence. I think this case raises two issues that Mississippians need to consider very carefully. A) What will the state do to compensate falsely incarcerated men like Brewer, Brooks, and Cedric Willis? (I understand that Willis was in the courtroom when Brewer was released. That must have been a powerful moment.) B) How can the state be trusted to implement the death penalty when we now know beyond any doubt that it was set to execute innocents? By the way, serious respect to Ronni. I can't wait to read more.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2008-02-16T12:26:43-06:00
ID
98602
Comment

I don't think you can underestimate how powerful of a moment it was in the courtroom. Beyond even the actual moments when the courtroom erupted in applause, the entire day just had a palpable feeling of significance and history. I've uploaded my photos from yesterday, and I think there will be an official link by the powers that be forthcoming . . . Courtroom Photos

Author
Roy Adkins
Date
2008-02-16T15:23:00-06:00
ID
98603
Comment

your pictures in the courtroom were awesome. I wish there were some captions. Thanks for sharing those.

Author
savebrettjones
Date
2008-03-07T09:14:49-06:00

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