Three exonerated men to speak about experiences tonight

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 | 1:48 p.m. CST; updated 10:19 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 4, 2010

COLUMBIA —Three men who collectively spent 50 years in prison for murder — and were later exonerated — will share their stories at an event tonight.

Josh Kezer, Darryl Burton and Dennis Fritz will mingle with donors and then speak at MU's School of Journalism to raise funds for the Midwestern Innocence Project.

The project is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal and investigative  services to help the wrongfully convicted gain their freedom.

Kezer, Burton and Fritz will be at:

  • Campus Bar & Grill, 304 S. Ninth St., from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Neff Hall Auditorium, MU campus, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

"We're hoping both (events) are well-attended," said Tiffany Murphy, the legal director for the Midwestern Innocent Project.

Admission to the Neff Hall event is $10 per person; MU students can attend free.

The project suggests the following contributions to attend the Campus Bar & Grill  event, though it is not necessary to make a donation:

  • Underwriters: $1,000
  • Sponsors: $500
  • Friends: $250 per couple
  • Guests: $100 per couple

"Right now, our small budget allows us to investigate the cases of only a small percentage seeking help," Steve Weinberg, a board member for the project, said in a news release.

The Midwestern Innocence project must prove actual innocence for prisoners to be released. The project takes cases at the state and federal level in Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Arkansas.

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Stefani Horton February 4, 2010 | 11:44 p.m.

Thank God, thank all of you for the innocence projects in this country. The number of innocent people in prison is horrifying and there is such an overwhelming overload on the innocence projects. The government should spend billions to fund more projects.

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