Thursday, April 26, 2007

Forgiving others

In 1985, Williams was accused of aggravated sodomy, kidnapping, and rape. Despite his claims of innocence, Williams was sentenced to forty-five years. For the next twenty-two years, he slept on hard bunks, ate prison hash, and could only wonder about the life he might have lived on the outside.

But Williams did not give up. In July 2005, he contacted the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal clinic that reexamines criminal cases using post-conviction DNA evidence. After investigating Williams’s claims that he was wrongly convicted on faulty eyewitness evidence, the Innocence Project took his case back to court, and Williams was found innocent.

After singing a few lines of “Amazing Grace,” 44-year-old Williams walked out of prison a free man and went home to eat a steak dinner with his family. A few days later, he appeared at a news conference claiming he wasn’t angry about spending half of his life behind bars. Instead, he demonstrated mercy and forgiveness. “Anybody can screw up,” he said. “We’re all human.”

Wow. That is a man of impressive commitment to his principles.

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