Going back to my lost children: I was reunited with them when they were older, and my Caucasian daughter now lives in Sarasota, Florida, with her husband. One son lived here in the US for ten years or so, but has now gone back to Adelaide, where he lives near his older brother, a home town boy who never could get his mind around the US, and who, consequently, I see very rarely.
When I first came to the US, I cried for my children every night. After two years of this, my husband said, “Stop it! Stop!” So I stopped. Since then, everything I have done, every book I have written, has been a sort of recompense. In 2006, I set out to write the story of an African American young man, one of the innocents on Death Row in Raleigh. His name at the time was John Lee Conaway but is now John Lee Scott. He is the same age as my Australian sons and I have adopted him as my seventh child. His story opened my eyes to the plight of the poor black man entangled on our so-called justice system and we have been fighting for his freedom ever since. His website is www.justiceforjohnlee.org.
John Lee, death row, 1992-2008
Johnny Lee, 12 years
2008: After sixteen years on Death Row, John Lee was granted a new trial on grounds of jury bias - the double first cousin of one of his accusers was on the jury - and moved into the half life of a Central Prison cell block known as Safekeeping.
John Lee, August 2010, on entering Richmond County Jail
John Lee, November 2010, in a state of trauma after 10 weeks in the Richmond County Jail
Two years went by during which his lawyers Joe Cheshire and Burton Craige did nothing to investigate his protestations of innocence.
2010: John was taken down to the Richmond County jail to await the outcome of his case. He was kept there 72 days in 24/7 solitary confinement, during which time he had no exercise at all, only four brief showers, which he took shackled, and suffered from severe sleep deprivation. His lawyers coerced him into taking an Alford plea, but failed to explain to him its consequences. He went to court confused and exhausted but believing he would shortly gain his freedom. He was given two life sentences. We have since hired a lawyer who has uncovered substantial evidence to show he was framed by detectives for a crime he did not commit.
2016: Richmond County is currently stonewalling us.
This is the crime scene: The State claims John shot the two boys execution-style, one bullet each to the temple in exactly the same place, one in the left temple, one in the right, precision kills in the darkness of the after- midnight woods.
The State also claims the vicitms were on their knees when they were shot (although one co-defendant claimed one was shot in the back of the head while standing.)
Either way, their bodies would not have fallen on their backs in these obviously posed positions.
I'm sorry if this photo sickens you, but photgraphic evidence is powerful.
This horror story happened in 1991 in Richmond County, North Carolina, on the border with South Carolina . These two boys had just come out of the closet and were living together as an openly gay couple.
John has been proclaiming his innocence for 25 years.