Former Death Row Inmate Speaks Out at PSU

Former Death Row Inmate Speaks Out at PSU

“Killing people is wrong, yeah we were taught that from the moment we start learning the rules of life and of living, that killing is wrong, and that one day we’re told we didn’t mean that, we’re gonna make exceptions,” says former Oklahoma death row inmate Curtis McCarty.

And he’s an exception to that fundamental principal that ruled his life for twenty-one years when he was locked up behind bars thirty years ago for a murder DNA evidence later showed he didn’t commit.

“I think the best thing we can do to fix the system is to attend better to the people who have to administer, they’re abused as anybody else. They’re underfunded, understaffed,” he says.

McCarty hopes when people hear his story of survival they get a better idea of how the criminal justice system works from the inside and form their own informed opinions on the death penalty.

“I’ve read a little bit. I’ve tried to watch some different documentaries on the death penalty and I’m hoping to just get a better insight on the value of the human life and how we need to value it more as a society,” says event attendee Margaret Radlund.

“Personally I don’t a lot about it. I know that it’s a very controversial topic and I’d like to know more before i make any of my own judgments on it,” says PSU junior Catherine Duncan.

“It just doesn’t work. Kansas already has life without parole and that will protect people but without the harmful effects of the death penalty,” says attendee George Weeks.

At first McCarty says he was reluctant to share his story, but now is an advocate for others like him to save lives.

“The best thing that could have happened for pam and her family was that Pam had not been killed to begin with. And try to generate that dialogue, get people to stop being angry and going to their communities and participate instead of waiting for the aftermath. ”

Kansas City Attorney Cyndy Short, who was also speaking at tonight’s event says one in nine people on death row are innocent.