View Full Version : Man Who Served 13 Pardoned for Crime he didnt Commit

02-07-2005, 05:28 PM
Man who served 13 years for a murder he didn't commit is pardoned
2/7/2005, 3:53 p.m. CT
The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) A man who spent 13 years in prison for a murder he did not commit received a full pardon Monday on two other convictions, a move he said would clear up paperwork and finally allow him to vote, even though he was exonerated of the murder charge more than a decade ago.
The pardon will allow Freddie Lee Gaines, 54, to vote for the first time in almost 35 years. He was arrested in 1972 and charged with killing a man, Johnny Lee Swanson, and a woman, Mary Ann Wright, in an illegal shot house in Birmingham. He was acquitted in the woman's death, but convicted of killing Swanson and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

He served 13 years in various Alabama prisons before being released in 1985. A Florida man in 1990 confessed to the killings, and in 1996 the Alabama Legislature passed a bill to pay Gaines $1 million over 10 years as compensation for the time he wrongly served in prison.

Cynthia Dillard, a spokeswoman for the Board of Pardons and Parole, said the pardon issued Monday was on convictions for assault and for buying, receiving and concealing stolen property in Jefferson County in 1970. If it had not been for those earlier convictions, Dillard said Gaines would have automatically had his voting rights restored when a Jefferson County Court cleared him of the murder charge.

Gaines, a Holiness preacher who runs a prison ministry in Birmingham, said he has been fighting to restore his voting rights since he was cleared of the murder charge. He said it has taken almost 10 years for him to go before the pardons and parole board because of problems with paperwork.

"That's what I can't understand. I've been fighting to restore my voting rights all this time," Gaines said.

Wearing a dark pinstripe suit and a blue shirt, Gaines appeared alone before the board.

"This is my first opportunity to stand right here before you," Gaines said. He said he has devoted his life to ministering to inmates in Alabama prisons.

Board chairman Sidney Williams said the panel was impressed with the work Gaines has done with his prison ministry.

"Keep going like you have been and good luck to you," Williams told Gaines at the end of Monday's hearing. Williams later said he could not discuss details of Gaines' file and why it has taken him so long to get a hearing before the board.

After the hearing, Gaines said he's looking forward to finally getting to vote.

"It's going to feel good to have a chance to vote for who I want to vote for," Gaines said.

He said getting the pardon may be the final step in putting the 13 years he spent in prison behind him.

"Prison life is dangerous. It's not an easy life for anyone," Gaines said. "I couldn't get anybody to believe me that I didn't do it."

02-07-2005, 05:50 PM
I don't know what the rest of you think, but $1 million dollars is no where near enough to pay this man for losing 13 years of his life. Then they want to pay that to him opver a 10 year period of time? B.S. The man should have taken it to federal court and fought i there He sure wouldn't get less than a million. I think the police officer that arrested him and the DA who prosecuted him, should be held liable to some extent money wise. That would discourage these young prosecuters from malicious prosecution and manufacturing evidence just so their conviction rate looks good when they decide to run for higher political offices.



02-07-2005, 06:41 PM
yeah and i heard daniel moores lawyers are seeking 25 million and he was only in for 4 yrs

02-08-2005, 06:59 AM
Yeah I have to agree with you no amount of money can replace the misery you have been put through and the families involved. That time is forever lost.