Randy Steidl

Randy Steidl, who spent 17 years in prison, including 12 on death row, for a double murder he did not commit, spoke Nov. 29, 2012, at Big Sandy Community and Technical College, in Prestonsburg, Ky. Steidl told the crowd, composed mostly of college students, that the death penalty should be abolished because it is too expensive, too prone to error, and too prone to bias against certain defendants. (photo by Ralph B. Davis)

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. — In 1987, Paris, Ill., resident Randy Steidl says he never imagined he would soon be sentenced to die for a double murder he did not commit. Over the next 12 years, there were times when he nearly gave up hope that he would ever be freed.

In 2004, Steidl was exonerated of the crimes that kept him in prison for 17 years. Today, he works with Witness to Innocence, the nation’s only anti-capital punishment advocacy group created by and working on behalf of former death row inmates and their families. Members of the group speak around the country in an effort to convince states to abolish the death penalty.

Steidl was at Big Sandy Community and Technical College on Nov. 29, 2012, the final stop in a statewide tour of seven college campuses over the preceding four days. He shared his experiences and his thoughts on abolishing the death penalty in the following interview:


Steidl’s visit was sponsored by the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and the Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The following video contains Steidl’s full remarks in Prestonsburg:

If the video doesn’t load, and for some reason it doesn’t occasionally, you can view it at http://www.veoh.com/watch/v40947663zEDGFHph.


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