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Old 12-27-2004, 03:10 AM
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Post CNN Death Penalty on Trial (long)


Death Penalty on Trial

Aired December 21, 2004 - 21:00 ET

NANCY GRACE, GUEST HOST: Imagine spending years on
death row for a brutal murder that you didn't commit,
until one day, finally, your life is saved and your
name is cleared.
Tonight, meet three men just like that and hear their
stories. First of all, Ray Krone. DNA evidence freed
Krone after 10 years, four of them on Arizona's death
row, for the brutal stabbing death of a young woman.
Gary Gauger, sentenced to death for killing his own
parents, despite no physical evidence. Three years
later, his verdict overturned. And Ronald Keine, 10
days away from the New Mexico death chamber for the
murder of a New Mexico college student, until another
man's confession got him a new trial.

Plus Bill Kurtis, host and executive producer of A&E's
"American Justice" and "Cold Case Files." Once Kurtis
was a staunch supporter of the death penalty, but now
he's reversed himself. Former prosecutor Lisa Pinto.
She supports the death penalty. And psychotherapist
Dr. Robi Ludwig. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy
Grace from Court TV, in for Larry tonight. And I want
to thank you for being with us.

Incredible stories of men who actually went to death
row for crimes they did not commit. First of all,
let's go out to Ray Krone in Pennsylvania. An
incredible story of yours, Ray. I've read about it in
depth in Bill Kurtis' book, but I want to hear about
it from you. What happened, Ray?

miscarriage of justice, poor investigating, and a loss
of 10 years of my life. I was convicted pretty much on
the junk science of a bite mark expert, who said that
the mark on the body matched my teeth. My alibi of
being home in bed and a roommate that knew I was home
in bed was no good, according to the prosecutor. And
in just three and a half hours, a jury found me guilty
of murder and kidnapping, with no other real
substantial evidence, period. Just the bite mark.

GRACE: Now, you were a co-worker of Kim Ancona's,

KRONE: No, that's not true. She worked in a bar, and I
was just a patron there for about two months. I had
been going to that local neighborhood bar.

GRACE: Incredible! Because allegations were that you
had worked together. How did police connect you to
her? KRONE: They actually claim they found my phone
number in her phone book and that somebody that was
working with her told them that I was her boyfriend,
and they believed that when they came to interview me.

GRACE: So based on a phone number in a phone book, you
ended up getting arrested for murder. It must have
been like a sci-fi horror movie for you.

KRONE: It was -- it was completely unbelievable. I'd
never been in trouble in my life. I worked for the
post office for seven years, spent six years in the
Air Force, honorable discharge, top secret clearance.
And now my word is no good, and now they wouldn't
believe me when I was telling the truth. And to try to
get through to them and say, listen, I'm telling you
this is what the truth is, this is what I know. And to
be completely ignored, it was just horrible. I could
not believe the treatment that they would give a

GRACE: Ray, when you were first arrested for this
murder, the murder of a young girl, Kim Ancona, a
young lady, where were you? What happened?

KRONE: I was actually just -- at the time of her
murder, I was actually home in bed. It was sometime
after 1:15 in the morning, and I was actually home
asleep. When I was arrested, it was actually New
Year's Eve. I was driving into my driveway, just
getting off from delivering my mail that day at the
post office. I was just getting out of my car when I
was rushed by police officers and armed -- fully armed
police officers that wrestled me to the ground and
threw me to the ground and handcuffed me and told me I
was being arrested for murder, kidnapping and sexual

GRACE: So you're just getting home from work and
you're arrested for murder. Had you ever been arrested
in your whole life?

KRONE: Never.

GRACE: What did they come up with at trial?

KRONE: At trial, they used the bite mark expert's
testimony to say that a mark on the body was
absolutely, 100 percent made by my teeth, that that
mark happened at the time of her death, and that made
me the murderer. And they disregarded hair. They
disregarded fingerprints. They disregarded footprints,
DNA, all this stuff that was actually part of the
crime scene, the parts that didn't fit me, they just
ignored and dismissed as irrelevant.

GRACE: Here in the studio with me, former prosecutor
Lisa Pinto. Lisa, I had some murder cases myself as a
prosecutor that included forensic dentistry, and I
would not introduce it into evidence. I thought that
it was such a murky area, much less basing a whole
conviction on a bite mark. I mean, how do they know
the tissue didn't move during the bite or prosthetic
teeth? Who knows what could have been used?

LISA PINTO, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, clearly, it was
flawed in this case, Nancy. But I think the most
important issue in Mr. Krone's case is the fact that
he had not been on death row for seven years when he
was so-called exonerated. Mr. Krone had the DNA, he
had been -- his death penalty had been taken away. He
had been resentenced to life without parole. This was
not a man who was facing death -- was looking into the
jaws of death at this point. The science was junk, but
this is an example of the science working -- of the
system working, because he was not executed. He was
not on death row at that time.

GRACE: Bill Kurtis, would you agree? I've read your
book. It's fantastic, "The Death Penalty on Trial."
But the reality is that the system worked in this
case. Yes, Krone was arrested wrongly. He went to
trial. He was convicted. That was all wrong. But he
was cleared and walked free.

of the reasons I chose this case is that the system
did appear, on the surface, to work. In fact, there
were two critical mistakes. First mistake was
exculpatory evidence that we don't yet know who to
blame, whether the prosecutor or the forensic
scientist. Forensic scientist calls a bite mark
expert, Norman Sperber in San Diego, top in the
country. This is an initial call to his mentor.
Sperber says, you don't have a match. That evidence
never made it into trial.

GRACE: OK, wait a minute, let me get this straight. So
the forensic dentist the state used call his mentor?

KURTIS: Well, yes. The Phoenix crime lab called his

GRACE: OK. And they told him, we don't see a match?


GRACE: And the forensic dentist either did not tell
the district attorney, the prosecutor, it never made
its way to the defense?

KURTIS: Never made a dent. Maybe he was inexperienced,
we don't know. The prosecutor, Noel Levy, denies that
he ever knew it. And certainly, it would be an ethical
breach if he did not reveal that in discovery.

GRACE: Right.

KURTIS: The second -- and we're also, this is
investigative reporting in here on how the bite mark
really was connected to Ray, because there is a

GRACE: Now, the bite mark itself was inflicted during
the murder, and it was on the victim's breast?

KURTIS: It was postmortem, and it was a bite mark
around the nipple. So what we think happened...

GRACE: Oh, the postmortem part. Oh, so after they
killed the girl, they bite the body. OK. Ray Krone,
man, with evidence like that, I bet this jury was so
inflamed. KRONE: Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean, that's
part of what the prosecutor has to do. He has to make
it -- a murder is horrible enough to begin with, but
by outraging the jury, somebody has to pay the price
for this horrible crime. And when you're the defendant
and you're the only one that they can take that anger
out on, you're going to pretty much always get

GRACE: The reality is, they dubbed Krone the
snaggle-tooth killer. And because they said, the
prosecution said the bite mark was very identifiable.

KURTIS: Well, he has crooked teeth because of an
accident. So they took a mold, and we believe that the
forensic scientist went back to the body, and, in an
attempt to match it up, to see if it matched, to align
it, actually put it onto the skin and created new bite

GRACE: Whoa, whoa, wait. He would have to have forced
the mold down on the skin. Do you really think someone
would commit that kind of wrongdoing?

KURTIS: Not really heavily, because a corpse doesn't
have the resiliency of a live tissue.

GRACE: That's true.

KURTIS: So it would stay. And all you have to do is
kind of look around to see if it fits in. Now, if he
did that at an early stage of the game, every expert
witness would be basing their opinion on...

GRACE: On that?

KURTIS: ... on Ray's teeth. So you're creating your
own evidence that can lead to death.

GRACE: How many other experts came in?

KURTIS: Well, there were a number of bite mark
experts. I think three for the prosecution.

GRACE: That came in at trial?

KURTIS: Yes. Now, the defense attorney for Ray in the
first trial didn't really call a legitimate bite mark


KURTIS: Well, he hired a family dentist to help him
with the expert testimony.

GRACE: Ray Krone, is that true? You did not have a
forensic dentist for the defense?

KRONE: No, ma'am. The state of Arizona, the county of
Maricopa was very generous. They granted my attorney
about $6,000 to defend me. And so he had to watch
every penny he spent. So we couldn't afford an expert.

GRACE: We've got an all-star panel lined up, plus
three men who wrongfully went to death row. One of
them just a few hours away from the New Mexico gas
chamber. When we get back, more from Ray Krone, who
did time behind bars for a murder he did not commit,
and from psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig. Stay with


KRONE: Hi, momma.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No handcuffs, no security guards.
For the first time in 10 1/2 years, Ray Krone got to
hug his mother outside prison walls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At last knowing that there's
nothing going to stand between us, that there's
nothing's going to get in our way, that there's nobody
going to tell him what he has to do. He will now do
what he wants to do.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ray Krone will now start looking
for a new job. He considers himself a newborn child
about to set off into the world again. He says he
won't waste any time being angry or bitter.

Now that you're free, when you have a bad day...

I don't think I'll have a bad day. Remember, I can
remember. Throw anything at me that you can. Throw it
all at me, whatever you can. Because you know what, I
was on death row. It ain't so bad.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Nancy Grace from
Court TV in for Larry King tonight. What a show. Thank
you for being with us. Tonight we are discussing with
three men who were wrongfully convicted of murder, who
were facing the death penalty. Let's go straight back
out to Ray Krone. He's joining us from Pennsylvania.
Ray, what was life like behind bars convicted of a
murder you did not commit?

KRONE: Maybe the prosecutor would like to explain
that. She seems to have a good opinion about
everything. Apparently, I wasn't facing death. The
fact that nobody gets killed in prison, the fact that
I was facing 40-some years in prison, which would have
took me to at least 81 years old before I could ever
be released is not facing death, I don't know what is.
Prison is very harsh. It's a brutal environment.
You're oppressed, you're violated in many ways. You're
demeaned. You're dehumanized. You go without many,
many sensory perceptions, even to be able to contact
your family. I was allowed two phone calls a month on
death row. Very many things the public is not aware
of. And then we release these people back to the
public with that type of anger, aggression, antisocial
behavior. It was very difficult in there. It's a dog
eat dog world. A lot of violence, physical and mental
abuse goes on. I just had to survive because my family
and friends believed in me. People out there believed
in me. I knew one thing. I was innocent, and God knew
I was innocent.

GRACE: I'm reading Bill Kurtis' book and I notice on
page 74 he mentions, you had been on death row for 3
1/2 years. So at one point you were on death row?

KRONE: Yes, ma'am. My first sentence was sentenced
till death and the state of Arizona fully intended to
carry that out.

GRACE: Gotcha. So, Lisa, your point?

PINTO: My point is, at the time he was exonerated, he
had been taken off death row for seven years. I also
feel for Mr. Krone. But I feel for the 100,000 people,
Nancy, who have been murdered by criminals out on
parole and probation supervision and the 2 million
that were harmed, robbed, and beaten by these parolees
and former murderers. So there's Mr. Krone's case, but
there's 100,000 dead innocents also.

GRACE: So the reality is, Lisa, that these three guys
we are meeting tonight are the poster guys for
anti-death penalty sentiment.

These are three examples where the system screwed up.

PINTO: They're not the typical cases. Typically, the
judge read the wrong jury instruction, Nancy. The
lawyer was asleep, incompetent counsel. But that is
all changing. Mr. Krone's case was in 1991. We're in
2004 now. The system has changed. Lawyers are eligible
for capital cases before they try them, they have to
go through intense training. There are no more
sleeping lawyers. The courts are taking this all in
hand, Nancy.

KURTIS: I think probably, in your jurisdiction and
your office, I hope it has changed. Unfortunately, I
don't think it's typical that it has all changed.

GRACE: Bill, though, you're anti-death penalty. I
understand that. But you came up with three cases
three, out of the thousands of people that get
sentenced to death row in our country every year.

KURTIS: I couldn't cover the thousands, but these
three represented the mistakes that are commonly made
in the exoneration of cases. We have more than 100. My
fear is that we're going to peer into -- we are
peering into the criminal justice system with DNA
opening that crack, and finding a lot of mistakes. We
don't know how many mistakes there are out there.
These happen to be the easy ones to solve.

GRACE: Right. Now, Ray, how were you cleared? How were
you exonerated? Was it through DNA? KRONE: Yes. The
pants and underwear that the victim were wearing,
thank God, had been saved by the Phoenix police
department over the years. We finally convinced a
judge to do testing on that, over the objection of the
prosecution's office, who said that I was already
convicted twice, and this was a wild goose chase.
Apparently, they wanted to protect the real murderer.
The DNA was tested by the Phoenix police department.
It was extracted from her clothing. It was compared to
me and the victim, and it didn't match. They put it
into the DNA data bank, and that's when it came back
with a match to a habitual sexual offender.

GRACE: Robi Ludwig is with us, psychotherapist. Robi,
wouldn't the psychology, the common sense, work in
reverse? He, Ray Krone, was cleared by DNA evidence.
Now, when people are sentenced to death row on DNA
evidence, does that give you or other people in the
public more security, more belief in the system?

hope, the idea that some people were sent to death
before DNA was around so that there wasn't a way to
actually guarantee whether somebody was guilty or
innocent. So there is this sense of security that, if
we have the right person on death row, if there is, in
fact, evidence, then DNA can prove it, and we can feel
more comfortable and confident.

KRONE: There's actually a big problem for that, if I
may interrupt.

GRACE: Sure.

KRONE: Unfortunately, DNA is only available in less
than 20 percent of most murder cases. It's not the
solve all, cure all for proving innocence.

GRACE: But when it does exist, Ray, wouldn't you agree
that DNA is the litmus test? It cleared you. So
wouldn't it serve to adequately convict others, if it

KRONE: Absolutely. And that's the point. It's not just
a matter of proving people innocent but it proves
guilty too. That's something the public should also
realize. This is why DNA is so important. It helps us
definitively prove, to arrive at the fact of real true
guilt, which is the purpose of our process.

GRACE: You know what, Ray, I once had a murder case
where I had DNA, so the defendant then claimed, oh, I
did rape her, but I wasn't the one that killed her.
So, you know, even when you have DNA, believe me,
there will be a defense. Thank God in heaven, it
worked out in your case. Of course, I'm sure you don't
think it worked out because you did so much time
behind bars. Describe for us, Ray, one day on death

KRONE: You're in a cinder block cell the size of most
people's bathroom. You wake up in the morning whenever
they first serve food. It can be anywhere from 5:00 to
7:00. It's never hot. Very rarely even warm because
the food sat in the hallway until the officers felt
like serving you. You got up and ate and usually went
back to sleep. Some guys would watch television. That
was the baby sitter. I was into more doing crosswords
and reading a lot. I would stay up, do exercises to
keep my mind and body active. Lunch time would come
around, again, when they feel like feeding you. If we
were lucky enough that it was either Monday,
Wednesday, or Friday of the week, you would be able to
go outside for two hours after you were first strip
searched and handcuffed and shackled and escorted by a
guard one inmate at a time.

And only on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday was the only
day you were allowed to get a shower. The rest of the
time was spent in your cell by yourself. You wouldn't
see other inmates unless you were able to look out
through a doorway and possibly see one crossing by.
You couldn't talk to anybody, unless you yelled out
through a door or heater vent, that you might be able
to have communication with another inmate. You pretty
much lived a life of isolation and your own wits and
means, and a lot of guys weren't able to keep their
sanity through all that.

GRACE: Ray, what was it like behind bars with hardened

KRONE: You know, first, I want people to realize that,
just because we're against the death penalty or
because I went through prison and DNA freed me,
doesn't mean now I've lost my compassion, my sadness
for the victim and for what happens in our country.
I'm all for putting people in prison. Most of them all
deserve to be in there. So I was around a lot of
violent people. But what I come to find out was there
were still some humanity left in them, that there were
actually certain good traits that they actually did
show at times. Usually, in most cases, the person that
killed that victim, the person that committed that
horrible crime, is not the same person 5 years later,
10 years later, 15 years later, when we execute them.
I'm not saying that to make them better people, I'm
just saying we as a society have to recognize there's
still humanity in all of us. And I don't think any of
us, I haven't met anybody in this world who's smart
enough, intelligent enough, wise enough to determine
who should live and who should die.

GRACE: Ray Krone, an incredible story. Thank you for

KRONE: Thank you for having me.

GRACE: Yes, sir. When we come back, more stories just
like ray Krone's. Stay with us.


KRONE: I think, if hi to spend ten years in there and
people said, why did the lord let that happen? What
was the purpose and a half? What did that all mean?
And I think it wasn't about the ten years I spent in
the past, it's about the future, what I can do now to
make it right. And all the people that helped me and
all the people that supported me, there's no way I
could ever support them or pay them back for that
support that got me through this, got me here to talk
to you today. But there's other people out there that
maybe I can help. Maybe I can do something for them
that came from a place they never expected or least
expected it. And then maybe when I get old enough,
I'll look back and say, that's what you accomplished,
Ray. You did something in life that was good. Just
like the people who did good an helped me.



Gauger digs in the dirt for his tomato plants and
thinks about how was almost buried, sentenced to death
for murders he didn't commit.

People asked me, how did I get through it? Well, you
don't have a choice, you either live or die. If they
were going to kill me, eventually they would have.

FLOCK: Gauger spent nine months under sentence of
lethal injection here at Statesville Prison in
Illinois before his conviction was thrown out and he
was set free.


GRACE: Welcome back. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV, in
for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us. What a
story. Tonight you meet three men off death row, men
who did not commit murder. Shocking stories. Let's go
straight out to Gary Gauger. Gary, wrongfully accused,
convicted and sentenced to death for the '93 murder of
his own parents. Gary, welcome. Thank you for being
with us. When I first read this fact scenario, you had
to deal with, A, the shock of your parents' death,
which is overwhelming, I'm sure. B, the fact that they
were murdered. And, C, the fact that you were the

GAUGER: Right. Yes, it was horrible.

GRACE: Tell us what happened.

GAUGER: Two members of the Wisconsin Outlaws
Motorcycle Gang planned a month to rob and kill my
parents. They came up to our farmhouse in April of
1993, and they killed my parents in a botched robbery.

GRACE: Now, how did they plan for a month to come rob
your parents out on a farm?

GAUGER: This is all testimony of James Snyder, the man
who killed my mother. There was an ongoing gang war
between the Hell's Angels and the Outlaws, and it was
part of a fund-raising campaign. And my parents were
old, retired, considered somewhat eccentric by people
that didn't know them very well. And they just decided
they must have a lot of money stashed on the farm and
thought they'd make an easy target. These guys didn't
know I was living at the farmhouse. If they had, they
certainly would have come and killed me too.

GRACE: Gary, what you just told me in itself is a
tragedy, the loss of one parent -- when you just said,
killed my mother, the way it rolled off your tongue,
it just stopped me in my tracks. But you've had to
deal with so much more.

What happened when you were arrested?

Could you believe it?

GAUGER: No, no. I was in shock as soon as I found my
father's body. Anyone who's ever experienced the loss
of a loved one, I think knows what I'm talking about.
You do what you try to do to help, but it's like you
walk into a dream. Nothing seems real. I was in severe
emotional shock.

GRACE: You know, I'm thinking back on how prosecutors
may have thought you were the one that did the
murders. You found the body and called, so that places
you there, since you had been living there. Your
prints and DNA were probably at the scene. That's
probably why they honed in on you as the suspect,

GAUGER: No. There was no physical evidence tying me to
the crime. The only thing the police went on is it was
an isolated farm house. I was a family member, and I
was at the scene of the crime. Statistically, that can
implicate somebody in a certain amount of crimes.
Unfortunately, a lot of police precincts, what they do
is tend to focus on a primary suspect and then
disregard any evidence to the contrary. So in my case,
the crime was never investigated.

GRACE: Wow. Wow. Now, they claimed that you killed
your parents during an alcoholic blackout. Did they
have evidence that you were an alcoholic or did they
just fabricate that?

GAUGER: We had an 18-hour interrogation, where I was
illegally arrested, held against my will, and I spoke
freely about my past. I was very thorough and honest,
and I was trying to do everything I could to help
investigate the crime, and basically exonerate myself
from any involvement in this crime. The police knew
that I was a recovering alcoholic. I was 32 days sober
when my parents were killed.

GRACE: When you realized that you were the central
suspect and you were going to be arrested for your
parents' murder, what did you do?

GAUGER: It didn't happen like that. I basically was
arrested, but I was a very cooperative suspect. I was
doing everything I could to try and prove my
innocence. No matter where the trail went -- the
interrogation lasted 18 hours. It became very bizarre
after I took a polygraph test.

GRACE: What do you mean by that?

GAUGER: After I took a polygraph test at midnight to
try to prove my innocence, the police became very
abusive. They told me they had a stack of evidence
against me. They told me I hadn't passed the polygraph

GRACE: Is that true?

GAUGER: No, no. Basically, the polygraph examiner
ruled that he couldn't get a reading because I was so

GRACE: Yes, yes.

GAUGER: The police only told me, you didn't pass the
polygraph test. I -- to this day think they told me I
failed. Either way, that was basicly the belief I was
left with.

GRACE: Gary, how were you finally exonerated?

GAUGER: I was not exonerated because of the system. I
was exonerated in spite of the system. If it was up to
the prosecution, they would still try to execute me.
They've been doing everything they can since my
release to somehow implicate me with this crime, which
is very unethical, but they do it anyways. I was freed
because of my friends and family working on my behalf
contacted professor Larry Marshall, professor of
ethics at Northwestern University. They currently have
the center on wrongful convictions. Him and 60 of his
students, he took my case, involved 60 of his
students. They worked on my appeal, and I was freed
because of an appeal on the appellate level in which
what the police were calling a confession, even though
there was no confession, was thrown out of court.

GRACE: Ultimately, two motorcycle gang members were
indicted for the murders, correct?

GAUGER: They were indicted and convicted, yes.

GRACE: Wow, what a story. When we come back, we're
going to hear the rest of the story from Gary Gauger,
who went to death row for the murder of his parents.
We'll hear from Lisa Pinto, Dr. Robi Ludwig, and A&E's
Bill Kurtis. Stay with us.


GOV. GEORGE RYAN (R), ILLINOIS: Because as governor of
the constitution and powers that are vested in me, I
am right now pardoning Orlando Cruz, Gary Gauger, and
Steven Lynn Scott for these crimes.



GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy
Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight. Thank you
for being with us. Tonight three incredible stories of
men who went to death row and later were exonerated.
Joining us from Chicago, Gary Gauger. He went to death
row for the murder of his parents. Later, two gang
members bragged about the murders, and he was
exonerated. Here in the New York studio, Bill Kurtis
from A&E, the author of "The Death Penalty on Trial,"
an incredible book. Also with us, psychotherapist, Dr.
Robi Ludwig, and former prosecutor Lisa Pinto weighing
in. Lisa, what do you make of Gary Gauger's story?
PINTO: I would just like to point out a couple of
things on how the system worked again. The trial court
vacated his death sentence because they felt the
mitigating evidence had not been considered in Mr.
Gauger's case. Furthermore, Bill, who goes after the
use of informants in criminal cases, well, it was an
informant in this case who saved Mr. Gauger's life.

GRACE: Explain.

PINTO: Well, there was basically a snitch. Gary was
talking about the gang members who had committed this
horrible, heinous crime against his parents, one of
their fellow bikers was arrested by the federal
government, and he turned a federal witness, and he
wore a wire. And that's how he got -- heard the actual
killers talking about the murder.

GRACE: So a snitch was wired up and heard the gang
member bragging about the murders?

PINTO: Right. And Bill feels the use of informants is
unreliable, but it's an essential component of
criminal justice.

GRACE: Bill, you want to respond to that?

KURTIS: I do. No, I like informants. Wearing a wire is
the best evidence you can get. Jailhouse informants
are usually not wearing wires, and in the Ray Krone
case -- the Thomas Kimble (ph) case, came back and
testified, he said, he said. So suddenly you're
implicating any conversation...

GRACE: I've used a couple of snitches in my day, so
I'm going to take you to task on this in a moment.

KURTIS: They're probably not in jail. If you're in
jail, you'll say anything you know the prosecution
wants to help your case.

LUDWIG: One of the reasons why doing a show like this
is so important is because I think the general public
doesn't understand that just because you're a
defendant in a criminal case, does not make you
guilty. There is a presumption of guilt.

GRACE: I hope not. Of innocence.

LUDWIG: Well, I know. That's what one would think.
Psychologically, the assumption is, if you're a
defendant and there's enough information out there
that you're probably...

GRACE: Where there's smoke, there's fire.

LUDWIG: That's right. You're probably guilty.

GRACE: As many cases as I have prosecuted, I still
wonder what life is like behind bars. I've been in
plenty of jails, I'm not proud to say, Gary. What was
life like on death row for you?

GAUGER: Ray Krone did a very good job portraying what
life is like. You're in a cold small cell. You're
freezing in winter. You bake in the summer. Very
violent. We had four prisoners killed by other
prisoners in the 22 months I was at Statesville
Maximum Security. Beatings were almost daily. There
were prisoners there that should be in mental
institutions for criminally insane because they're a
danger to themselves and others around them.

GRACE: Gary, I want to go back to your case. When you
were behind bars and you learned, I guess, from your
defense lawyer, that these gang members have actually
bragged about your parents' murder, did you want them
to get the death penalty?

GAUGER: I did not learn about this when I was behind
bars. The prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence
which would have shown my innocence. We didn't learn
about these facts until seven months after my release,
even though the sheriff's department and the
prosecutor's office knew in the fall of 1995 about
this evidence. They fought my appeal in February of
'96. They reapplied to the Illinois supreme court, and
it wasn't until the Illinois supreme court refused to
overturn their decision in October of 1996 that I was
freed. We did not learn of this exculpatory evidence
until June of 1997, eight months later.

GRACE: The people that murdered your parents, did you
want them to get the death penalty?

GAUGER: No, of course not. I feel a civilized society
should be able to do better than killers. We should
rise above it. Yes, society has a right to protect
itself against people that have proven they're not
safe to walk the streets. But we do not need to reduce
ourselves to a murderer's level by killing them to
make an example of that. We see it all the time. It's
brutal. It's archaic and there's no place for it.

GRACE: Lisa, the grounds for the original reversal,
what were they?

PINTO: On appeal, you mean, Nancy?


PINTO: They decided he was arrested without probable
cause. Therefore, any of these statements, which he
says were phony, but which the police believed to be
true, any of those statements had to be thrown out
under the so-called fruit of the poisonous tree
doctrine. If the arrest is tainted, then anything that
stems from the arrest also has to be thrown out.
That's why his arrest was overturned.

GRACE: Now, Gary, Lisa Pinto, former prosecutor,
supports the death penalty. She says the system worked
in this case because your case was reversed before it
came out that these guys had confessed. What is your

GAUGER: It doesn't work. The system is the police and
the prosecution. The police perjured themselves to
convict me. I counted approximately 150 instances of
police perjury at my trial. We can't sue in civil
court. They're immune to anything in civil court that
they do at trial. The prosecution issued false
statements during closing arguments that we couldn't
even rebut. The last thing the jury heard was false.
That's part of the system. They have to this day
denied any wrongdoing in any of this and basically
said they did nothing wrong. That's the system.

GRACE: Gary, before we go to break, I want to hear
about your life now.

GAUGER: My life now, it's up and down. I'm an
emotional wreck. I can't sleep. I've seen cameo shots
of what happens behind the scenes, what's wrong with
the system. I'm not saying all police and prosecutors
lie. Majority of them don't. Unfortunately, we have
prosecutors and police that hide behind this. I mean,
it's an honorable job. I support the police. I support
the prosecution. I have good friends that are police.
But there are people that subvert the system and use
it for personal gain. This is what we need to try and
get rid of.

GRACE: Gary, I didn't get a chance to mention to start
with, first of all, thank you for being with us. And
second, I'm surely sorry about your parents.

GAUGER: Thank you.

GRACE: Thank you, friend, for being with us. OK?


GRACE: Gary Gauger signing off for now. When we come
back, another story. Our third story tonight. Our
third and final story of someone wrongfully sent to
death row and saved from execution. Stay with us.


GRACE: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to LARRY KING
LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry
tonight. And I want to thank you for being with us.

Tonight, three incredible and almost unbelievable
stories about men that went to jury trial, were
convicted and sentenced to death row, then later

Let's go out to Detroit. Standing by, Ronald Keine.
Hello, Mr. Keine. Thank you for being with us.

thank you for having me. How are you?

GRACE: Well, I've got to tell you, I'm beside myself
after reading your story. Keine was convicted of a
murder of a young college student. He went to jail, to
death row, and was 10 days away from the gas chamber
before he was exonerated.

Ronald, what happened? How were you connected to this
murder of this young girl?

KEINE: Well, our only connection, actual connection,
to the case whatsoever was we drove through the state
a week after the murder.

GRACE: When you say we, you're talking about what you
call a motorcycle club, but I will call a motorcycle
gang. But still that was a week after the murder,

KEINE: It was a drinking club with a motorcycle
problem is what it was.

GRACE: OK. You know what, I'm glad to know that, after
what you have lived through, sir, that you can still
laugh at everything, that you still have a sense of

KEINE: Oh, you've got to.

GRACE: But I still don't understand the prosecution
connection to you that came through town a week later.
There had to be something more than that. What about
the maid?

KEINE: The maid, who testified against us, later
testified that she was coerced and told everything she
was to say. The -- it turned out that the prosecution
-- well, the detectives -- they passed her around like
a sex toy for three weeks. They kept her at her house
for two, three weeks at a time, steadily, all the time
coaching her on what she was to say in court. She
admitted this later.

GRACE: Now, I'm reading that you actually had credit
card receipts showing you were not in Albuquerque at
the time of the murder. When you were arrested for the
murder of this college student, what were you

KEINE: Well, we thought, you know, this is some
problem, we thought there's no way. The system works.
They're not going to convict us of anything. We didn't
do this. Oh, we're rowdy, loud, drinking beer all the
way through the trip and everything, but we're not

GRACE: Now, you had been...

KEINE: I believed in the system. I believed the system

GRACE: Tell me about the day of your arrest.

KEINE: We were driving through New Mexico. We were in
a van. We were going to Michigan to visit our
families. And we were pulled over because we harassed
some hitchhikers. Some hitchhikers were hitchhiking.
We picked them up, and one of them got a good smack in
the eye because we caught him stealing our beer, and
they were let out. Well, they complained to the
police. That was our first connection, and that was
why they arrested us.

GRACE: OK. Lisa Pinto, when you have a suspect that
has an assault under their belt, that has an alleged
robbery under their belt, that may not be squeaky
clean character -- does that add into the police
opinion as to their candidacy for a suspect?

PINTO: Sure, Nancy. I mean, it's just common sense
that you have a propensity to commit crime if you're
done it before. But the issue here is this is the Wild
West 26 years ago, Ronald. This is not the way things
are done now. You probably had incompetent counsel.
The police were less than ideal in your case. That's
not the way death penalty cases are handled nowadays.

KEINE: Are you smoking something over there? Are you

GRACE: I can vouch for you that she is not.

PINTO: I am not.

GRACE: She is cold stone sober.

PINTO: I don't know about you, but I don't use drugs.

KEINE: You've got to wake up and smell the coffee.
It's still the case now. Things still happen like

PINTO: Mr. Keine, they don't. We have proper
representation. You have to be...

KEINE: Proper representation? All right. We've got
over 130 people right now exonerated. They all had
proper representation. I'll tell you what, we're not
here because the system worked. We're here in spite of
the system.

PINTO: Unlike you, their cases were quite different.

KEINE: After Northern Law University...

PINTO: They were not factually innocent like you, sir.
Most of these people had -- their lawyers were asleep.
They were co- conspirators. They were let off for
various other reasons.

KEINE: You can make all kinds of excuses, but it
doesn't work.

PINTO: They were still guilty of the crime. It was the
fact was they were not properly served under the legal

GRACE: Guys, hold on one moment. I want to go back to
Ronald Keine's case. So you were arrested...

KEINE: Thank you.

GRACE: ... and all along you never believed that you
would actually be convicted, but then you were. I want
to hear what your life was like on death row.

KEINE: Well, first of all, they put us on death row
two weeks -- I'm sorry, four months before our trial.
We were arrested and taken to death row. That kind of
told us a story right there. But you know, it is an
archaic system a little bit back then. We were dealing
with the good 'ole boy network. And basically, all
throughout the trial, the evidence, what we could read
in the papers, are coming up with all this false
evidence that we knew, you know, any minute now,
they're going to find out we didn't do this. We didn't
know that they already knew who did it, that they were
covering for a guy. They had the murder weapon in the
sheriff's safe. It finally got opened with a warrant,
and they found the murder weapon proved who really did

GRACE: OK. I was asking you about your life on death
row. But we've got to go to break. So I'll pick it up
there when we get back.


GRACE: Stay with us.


GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy
Grace from Court TV, in for Larry tonight. And I want
to thank you for being with us. Tonight, the
incredible stories of three men wrongfully convicted
of murder who went to death row, later exonerated.

Right now, we are speaking with Ronald Keine. He went
to death row for the murder of a young college
student. Very quickly to you, Lisa Pinto. How was he
exonerated? I know that a born-again Christian
confessed later. But legally, how did the exoneration
take place?

PINTO: Well, there was a problem with the way death
penalty cases were handled in New Mexico prior to
1976. In a case called State v. Beide (ph), they said,
you know what, you have to consider mitigating
evidence in these cases, which they hadn't been doing
in New Mexico prior to that. So they changed the whole
way the system worked there.

GRACE: Now, was he exonerated? Was he let off death
row before the confession from the third party?


GRACE: It was afterwards?

PINTO: I don't think so, no.

GRACE: So it was after this guy comes out of nowhere
and confesses to the murder, correct, Mr. Keine?

KEINE: No. He was a -- he was a federal narcotics
officer, and they knew about it ahead of time. He
didn't come out of nowhere. They had the gun that he
killed the guy with immediately. He later confessed,
all right, after two years on death row. His
conscience -- after we were there on death row.

GRACE: So he comes forward and confesses. Now, when
you heard that, where were you, and what was your

KEINE: Well, we started packing our clothes. We figure
we're going to get off of death row now. But now the
prosecution refused to hear his confession. They told
him to get out of town. They refused to talk to him.
He ended up having to go to our defense in order to be
heard with his confession. And they had to force the
judge to take a look at this.

GRACE: Robi?

LUDWIG: I was just going to say, it's so interesting,
because you're trying to get to their psychological
experience, and they keep telling you all of these
wrongly convicted men, I'm innocent, see? You know,
look at all these other people who did it. And very
often, that is their experience, that they need to
convince people of their innocence, because it is
horrible to be thought of as a criminal, when, in
fact, you didn't do anything wrong. There's a loss of
self- esteem. There's chronic depression. There's
panic attacks. They often need to change their very
character in order to survive in prison, in jail.

So when they get out, the best years of their life,
where they can develop a trade, get education, be with
family -- they come out, and they're like prisoners of
war. With no support, like parolees get, so they have
no support. Their family sometimes is dead and have
moved on. The little changes in life that make sense
to everybody else don't make sense to them. They
become institutionalized of sorts. And it's very hard
for them to make the transition. People think, oh,
you're out. You should be happy. And everything should
be fine. And very often, that's far from the case.

GRACE: You know, Bill Kurtis, reading your book, "The
Death Penalty on Trial," you had three examples of
people exonerated. Two examples of people exonerated
that had been on death row. What do you -- what did
you learn about them re-entering society, as Robi's
talking about?

KURTIS: Very difficult. They've been to a school of
higher education in crime. They were trying to stay
alive. So take 10 years out of your life, and then
what are you going to do? Train for nothing.

Many go back into jail. That's almost home for them.
These gentlemen are well spoken, and they have taken
up the fight of what happened to them. They'll be in
good shape. Some of the others aren't.

May I say that, Lisa, you're an excellent example, as
are you, Nancy, of good prosecutors, which are sort of
attack bunnies. Now, that's...

GRACE: I'm going to take that as a compliment, OK?
I've been called a lot worse.

KURTIS: Well, it is a compliment. Within the
adversarial system, because the defense attorneys
vigorously represent their client. Somewhere along the
line, you have these two sides fighting. I'm afraid
things are dropping through the cracks. Obviously,
mistakes are made. GRACE: But with the explosion in
the technology of DNA and other forensic techniques,
wouldn't you say that cases are more provable now than

KURTIS: If the DNA is there. If there is evidence.

GRACE: I'm going to ask you something, Bill.

KURTIS: But they aren't present in all cases.

GRACE: My question is, did you ever speak with the
victim's families?

KURTIS: Yes. And the victim's family -- I wanted to
talk about closure, an overused word. But did it do
them any good to see or not see, in these cases, the
perpetrator killed? And some say yes. Some say not.
Justice is really what they were for. Closure comes
within. And maybe that's a better answer coming from
you, Robi. What works?

LUDWIG: Yeah. I think time works, obviously. Listen,
there's nothing that can replace the person who adds
joy and pleasure to your life. And especially when
that life is cut short. So it really depends on a
person's moral feeling about the situation. In some
cases, it feels like due process was done, and it can
be helpful.

GRACE: Bill, did you go to death rows and -- in
looking at this?

KURTIS: Yes. And that's one of the big problems in
replacing death, in replacing death with life without
parole, is convincing people that the penal system is
going to be worse than death. I think these men would
probably say, yes, it is. We've heard it described
very well.

GRACE: Ronald Keine, final thought?

KEINE: We have to understand that this system is
broken. I hear people tell me this is the best system
in the world. I wonder, what, did you get this out of
a fortune cookie or something? It's the worst system
in the world. We're one of few countries left in the
world that even has capital punishment. Other
countries are even starting to think of trade
embargoes against us because of it. It's archaic. It's
barbaric, and it is just not -- it should not be
applied anymore. There's just too many mistakes.

We talk here about being exonerated. What nobody ever
mentions is the people who were killed. We didn't find
out they were innocent until after they died.
Something has to be done. The system has to be stopped
from killing people. Give them life in prison. That's
a great alternative.

GRACE: Mr. Keine, thank you for sharing your story
tonight. Of course, many people who are victims of
violent crime would rejoice in your exoneration, but
respectfully disagree with you. Of course, we hear
both sides here on the LARRY KING show. Thank you for
being with us.

KEINE: Thank you.

GRACE: I want to thank also former prosecutor Lisa
Pinto, psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig, and of course,
Bill Kurtis, who has brought this to the forefront in
his brand new book, "The Death Penalty on Trial."

I'm Nancy Grace signing off for Larry. Thank you for
being with us.

"It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them,
a day to love them and a lifetime to forget them."
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Old 12-27-2004, 03:58 AM
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Rusty265 Rusty265 is offline
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This was quite an interesting read, thank you for sharing.
- Rusty -

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Old 12-27-2004, 05:07 AM
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I find this very disturbing actually how one man is arrested by tooth marks, one man was arrested because he was to tired to do a lie detector test, and the other was sentenced when they actually had the murder weapon locked in a safe, but set him up for execution. IT DOESNT WORK!!
From these stories, it could happen to anyone, that is innocent. Its a scary thought, how many people are sitting on death row, stories similar to these (and there is alot).

This is why the Death Penalty is so wrong. The last person, that was days away from leathal injection. What would of happened then..... whooops, sorry, or as the Former prosecutor says, well 100,000 people are murdered one life of a inoccent is nothing. That makes me Anyway, I have to get off my soapbox, cause this has my blood boiling. I am just so grateful that these men lived to tell there story, of a system, to me, that obviously doesnt work.

"It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them,
a day to love them and a lifetime to forget them."
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Old 12-27-2004, 06:04 AM
titantoo titantoo is offline
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Thanks for posting this. Everyone in favour of the death penalty should read it. Of course, we already know it would make no difference to B**h's opinion (when governor of Texas he said they never executed an innocent man--- but then he has always been very good at ignoring the facts and replacing them with convenient fantasies) and it clearly had little effect on the former prosecutor Lisa Pinto.

By they way, although I understand the sentiment, and in practise this is what has the greatest effect (wrongful convictions), in my opinion at least, this is not why the death penalty is wrong. It is also wrong for the guilty.
It is just plain wrong.Its brutal, inhumane and uncivilised for a state to carry out judicial murder. As Keine said (although he also said that mistakes are the problem) "We're one of few countries left in the world that even has capital punishment. Other countries are even starting to think of trade
embargoes against us because of it."
"Human nature will only find itself when it finally realizes that to be human it has to cease to be beastly or brutal." (Mohandas Gandhi, In Search of the Supreme)
"I learned that familiar paths traced in the dusk of summer evenings may lead as well to prisons as to innocent, untroubled sleep." (Albert Camus, The Stranger)
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Old 12-27-2004, 06:30 AM
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By they way, although I understand the sentiment, and in practise this is what has the greatest effect (wrongful convictions), in my opinion at least, this is not why the death penalty is wrong. It is also wrong for the guilty.
It is just plain wrong.Its brutal, inhumane and uncivilised for a state to carry out judicial murder. As Keine said (although he also said that mistakes are the problem) "We're one of few countries left in the world that even has capital punishment. Other countries are even starting to think of trade
embargoes against us because of it."
I totally agree with you. The death penalty is just wrong period!!!

"It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them,
a day to love them and a lifetime to forget them."
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Old 12-27-2004, 09:02 AM
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thanks for sharing this story.
the death penalty is just wrong, it's nothing more than legalized murder.
I do not support capital punishment.
people use the old testiment bible to legalize the death penality, but we don't live in the old testiment anymore. no longer do we live by the law "an eye for an eye". this is just another example of our leaders not listening to it's people because I have never been asked to vote on capital punishment or I would be fighting to get it stopped in my state.
I'm happy for the three guy's that was freed and I'm saddened for the multitudes still waiting to be exonerated.

Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
And dance like no one is watching.

may the lord bless you and keep you Num 6:24
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Old 12-27-2004, 09:06 AM
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The fact is that so long as we have the death penatly we will send innocent men and women to death row and even worse, kill them. It is a statistical certainty that even if the chances of it happening are less than one in one thousand, eventually we will kill the wrong person. At the same time, for every wrong person sent to death row a killer is allowed to remain on the loose. That is the simple reality of the situation.

What is absolutely amazing is our indifference to it. Let's suppose that the rate of executing the wrong person is only one case in one thousand. Out of a thousand executions we got the right person 999 times. Sorry about that last one.

Would we allow a medication on the market, say a headache remedy, that has no demonstrable effectiveness yet it poisons every one thousandth person that takes it? That is exactly the type of situation that we are talking about with the death penalty. Only the error rate appears to be far worse than one in one thousand.

Although pro-killing advocates claim that the over 100 death row exonerations demonstrates that the system works, that is obviously not the case. First, only an idiot could believe that all of the mistakes were caught before the date with the executioner. But even worse, in some cases it was not even "the system" that found the mistake. Journalism students and film makers are not supposed to be part of the system. Yet, they are precisely the reason why people such as Randall Dale Adams and Anthony Porter are still alive and well.

Those who support killing people also claim that DNA has made the process much safer. That is not exactly true. All that DNA did was prove that some people were innocent who could not establish their innocence any other way. The DNA results came as a complete surprise to those who investigated the case. In a great many murder cases there is no DNA left behind. The fact that DNA has proven people innocent where no other method could also strongly suggests that there are innocent people who will never be able to clear themselves because there is no DNA.

My problem with overemphasizing innocence arguments is that it suggests that if not for the occassional mistake there would be nothing wrong with the death penalty. I do not buy that argument. The death penalty is wrong because killing is wrong.
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Old 12-27-2004, 02:42 PM
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I think this cartoon strip says it all.
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a day to love them and a lifetime to forget them."
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