HELENA – An Alabama man who spent three decades on death row for murders he didn’t commit shared his story at Carroll College Wednesday night.
Anthony Ray Hinton was sentenced to death in 1985 after being convicted for murdering two fast-food workers in Birmingham, Alabama.
His conviction was based on the testimony of a ballistics expert for the state, who claimed the bullets in the gun came from a dusty revolver in Hinton’s mother’s home.
An all-white jury then convicted Hinton. He was freed in 2015 after 30 years in prison, with the help of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Since Hinton’s release, he’s written a memoir titled “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” which Oprah Winfrey chose for her summer book club.
He also lectures across the country about prison reform, forgiveness and faith, and life as a free man.
“Thirty years made me realize I can have a voice, I can do something,” Hinton told MTN earlier in the day. “If nothing but tell my story, and hopefully my story will touch someone in the sense they say, you know what, hearing his story makes me get up, and I want to make a difference in the justice system. ”
A large crowd gathered at the college to see him speak about his experience on death row.
“I look at my situation, people ask me every day, how is it you are able to smile?” he said. “How is it you are able to forgive? I know, if I thought about the men who did this to me, I could never enjoy life again. And I want to enjoy life, whatever life I have left, I want to enjoy it to the fullest.”
“The Sun Does Shine” is available on Amazon, as well as various bookstores.
-Evelyn Schultz reporting for MTN News