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From Death Row to Freedom

Written by Sarah Swann

Steidl off Death Row.JPG 

Willimantic, CT -- Randy Steidl, an Illinois man who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1986 for a murder he did not commit, will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University on May 3 at 2 p.m.  Steidl, who spent 17 years, 3 months and 21 days in prison before he was finally released, will discuss his journey from death row to freedom in the Betty Tipton Room of the Student Center.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Steidl and a friend were accused of killing newlyweds Dyke and Karen Rhoads in 1986.  Since he did not know either of the victims he was shocked when he and Whitlock were arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death within 90 days. 

Steidl spent 12 years on death row trying to prove his innocence.  Through the involvement of the Center for Wrongful Convictions, it was determined that perjury and police misconduct, among other factors, had lead to Steidl's wrongful conviction. 

On May 28, 2004, Steidl was released, becoming the 18th person to be freed because of a wrongful conviction after serving time on Illinois'death row.  Steidl has been adjusting to his new life, working to help abolish capital punishment in New Mexico.  He believes that, "One life lost by execution is not worth ten guilty persons being executed

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