Death Row Florida
Conviction 1987: Commuted to Life 2002 – present day
businessman, Krishna, and his wife, Marita, a trip to Florida in
1986 turned into a nightmare. Convicted of the murder of a Jamaican
man and his son and sentenced to death, Krishna has spent the last
25 years in prison.
A BBC news
investigation has uncovered very significant evidence to support
Krishna’s innocence claim. Most of this evidence has not been heard
in court because of Florida’s judicial procedures, which restrict
the admission of evidence not submitted at the original trial. In
2004 a judge refused Krishna’s application for a retrial, saying,
"Newly discovered evidence which goes only to guilt or innocence is
insufficient to warrant relief."
initial trial the judge was arrested for taking bribes and the
replacement judge processed the death penalty order before the
guilty verdict was announced.
In 2002 the death
penalty conviction was commuted to life (50 years) due to
irregularities in the initial trial. In 2008 Krishna lost his final
plea for clemency leaving him to spend his final years in prison.
This despite 300 British politicians sending a petition to State
Governor, Jeb Bush, highlighting the “astonishing flaws” in the case
devotedly drives immense distances to visit Krishna and I joined her
on one of her fortnightly visits. Meeting Krishna was one of the
hardest things I’ve ever done. Not just because of the walls of
razor wire, the intimidating guards and personal body searches. Not
because of the petty ways that the guards undermine and humiliate
the families but because of his sheer desperation. This proud,
ex-millionaire businessman struggled to hold back his emotion. He
snapped his answers to my questions and his wife’s platitudes. But
gradually over 3 hours he relaxed and told us his story, eventually
even laughing with us over funny incidents in his past life in
Kris told me
that even now he could plea-bargain and receive his freedom in
return for confessing his guilt, but he refuses.
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