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After Spending More Than 17 Years on Death Row Innocent Man Does Not Want Revenge


Tom Fudge: Juan Melendez was living in Florida in 1983 when Delbert Baker was murdered. Baker owned a cosmetology school. Melendez had an alibi, witness and prosecutors had no physical evidence that put him at the scene of the crime. But they did have two people who were willing to testify that Melendez did it. One of those witnesses, who was a jail inmate, said that Melendez told him he committed the murder. As it turned out, that was enough evidence for a court to convict Melendez and give him the death sentence.

Melendez was on death row for nearly 20 years before he was finally released when his conviction was thrown out in 2002. Prosecutors were accused of suppressing exculpatory evidence. In fact, a now deceased man named Vernon James had confessed to more than one person that he murdered the victim.

Melendez is now free to tell his story.

The event on the U.S. death penalty takes place Wed., Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. in Room 200 of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law . The event is open to the general public. RSVP is required. Please contact Varinia Guzman at Food and drinks will be provided.


  • Juan Melendez, former Florida death row inmate who spent more than 17 years in prison. He was exonerated and released in 2002. 

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