Imagine being arrested at 19 years old. Imagine being convicted of murder and attempted murder. Imagine sitting in prison for 15 years. Imagine your father dying just months before you were to come home. Now, imagine going through all this and actually being INNOCENT.
That's exactly what happened to my pastor's eldest son, Richard Miles.
Here's the report from NBC: "Man Convicted of Murder Freed Over Tainted Trial"
Here's the Dallas Morning News article: "Withheld Evidence in Dallas Murder Case Frees Man After 14 Years. *It was actually 15 years; he was in county lockup for one year awaiting trial.*
All of this because police officers and attorneys withheld important evidence, case details, and a confession. A witness said the killer was a black man in a white tank top, shorts and held the gun in his right hand. Um...in 1995 a LOT of men wore white tank tops, but Richard Miles was wearing jeans and is LEFT-HANDED!
When his family told us he was being released, my first thought was, "Oh my God! WOW! That's such good news!" Everyone was ssso excited! I mean, how could you not be? But then reality set in...
How is someone supposed to just mix right back into society after this? He was freakin 19 years old when he was arrested...19! So much time lost. The things so many of us take for granted, he missed out on: searching for "The One" to grow old with, starting a family, finding that "perfect" job that leads to a great career, buying a home, a big 21st birthday bash, the dreaded 30th birthday celebration, siblings' weddings, the birth of nieces & nephews, family reunions...you know...LIFE. Life is already hard enough, but imagine losing 15 years of yours and then having to start over. Ridiculous.
"A finding of innocence would make Miles eligible for money from the state, which this year passed the nation's most generous compensation law. Texas pays the wrongly convicted $80,000 for each year they spent behind bars, plus a lifetime annuity worth at least $40,000 a year." ~From the aforementioned NBC DFW report.
He deserves THAT money and so much more. How many other innocent people are in prison right now for crimes they didn't commit? It turns my stomach to think about it. What would Richard's family be going through had he been sentenced to death? How many innocent people have been sentenced to death for crimes they had not committed? Its something to think about.
Thank God for Dallas's new District Attorney Craig Watkins and Centurion Ministries, the organization that help to free Richard Miles.
*Yes, I know I repeated Richard Miles' full name several times, but after what he's been through, he deserves to have his name heard (and read).*