Distinguished Speakers Series

Race, Innocence, and the End of the Death Penalty

Spring 2018

Mondays, 5:30 to 7:00 pm
Stone Center Auditorium, UNC Campus

Free parking is available after 5pm in the Bell Tower parking deck, adjacent to the Stone Center

All events are free and open to the public.

Prof. Frank R. Baumgartner

Information and background reading for our guest speakers

click here to go back to the class web site. Click here for a printable poster version of this information

February 12, LaMonte Armstrong and Theresa Newman. Mr. Armstrong was exonerated in 2013 of a Greensboro, NC murder for which he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1995. Atty. Newman and others from the Duke Innocence Project secured Mr. Armstrong’s release.

Three Murders, How Many Killers, by Taft Wireback, Greensboro News and Record, September 5, 2016, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

February 19, Darryl and Nannie Howard. Mr. Howard walked free from a Durham courtroom in August 2016 after having been wrongly convicted in a 1991 double-homicide. Ms. Howard stood by his side the entire time and help organized his defense.

February 26, Penny Beerntsen and Katie Monroe. Ms. Beerntsen is the survivor of a brutal attack whose legal case resulted in a wrongful conviction because of flawed police procedures. Ms. Monroe, who fought for eleven years to have her mother’s murder conviction overturned, is now the Executive Director of Healing Justice, a Washington-based organization that seeks to promote healing for all those affected by wrongful convictions.

Read about the exoneration associated with Penny's case. Read about Healing Justice, where Katie Monroe is Executive Director.

March 5, Gary Griffin and Ken Rose. Mr. Griffin served five years on Mississippi’s death row before his death sentence was overturned. He was released from prison after 23 years in 2009 and later worked an investigator working on post-conviction death penalty appeals in Jackson, Mississippi. Mr. Rose, formerly the Executive Director of the Durham-based Center for Death Penalty Litigation, has been a capital litigator for over 30 years, and was Mr. Griffin’s appellate lawyer, motivator, and supporter.

March 19, Chris Turner. Mr. Turner was one of 17 young people in Washington DC to be charged in a brutal killing, in what became known as the “8th and H” case. The crime occurred in a busy area of the city in broad daylight and yet there were no witnesses. Crime scene evidence makes the government theory to the case impossible, but DNA evidence has been lost or destroyed. Eight were sent to prison; one died while in federal custody, and six remain incarcerated. Mr. Turner served 26 years.

Read an article about Chris’ case in Slate.
Read an article about the case in The Guardian
See an episode on Netflix about the "confession" Chris gave. (Requires a subscription. Go to Netflix and search for "The Confession Tapes", then search for the episode entitled "8th and H". It originally aired on 8 September 2017.)

March 26, Kimberly Davis. Ms. Davis’ brother Troy was executed by the State of Georgia on September 21, 2011 amid a world-wide movement proclaiming his innocence. Ms. Davis has spoken publicly about his case since he was taken into custody in 1989.

April 2, Jerome Morgan. Mr. Morgan was sentenced, at age 17, to Life in Prison without Parole for a murder at a New Orleans sweet sixteen party. After 20 years in the plantation-like Louisiana State Prison at Angola, Mr. Morgan’s release was secured by the Innocence Project - New Orleans. He later co-founed the Free Dem Foundations, working with young men in the Crescent City.

Read about Jerome's case. Read about Jerome's nonprofit, the Free Dem Foundations. See Jerome's book, Unbreakable Resolve, published in 2017. Learn more about the "3 Gentlemen"

April 9, Marty Tankleff, introduced by Marc Howard. Mr. Tankleff was arrested at age 17 for the murder of his parents, and served over 17 years in New York prisons before being exonerated. He later completed law school and passed the bar exam, and is now a practicing attorney with Metcalf & Metcalf in New York City and a member of the Exoneree Advisory Board of the Innocence Project. Mr. Howard, a childhood friend now professor of political science at Georgetown University, supported Mr. Tankleff’s quest for freedom.

See Marty on CBS News
Read some background about Marty and his career as a lawyer.
See Marc's Sports Illustrated article about playing tennis in San Quentin prison

Primary Sponsor: Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professorship. Additional sponsors: UNC Department of Political Science; UNC Criminal Justice Awareness and Action; UNC Center for the Study of the American South; NCCU Law School; Campbell University Law School; Center for Death Penalty Litigation