THE WALKING FREE FUND 2020

In 2021, we have already given funds to 8 persons but are having technical difficulties. They will be posted soon!

Proving Innocence gives financial assistance when exonerees leave prison with no red tape. Since they often have literally nothing, this gives them some resources they can call their own, giving them some sense of dignity. Please DONATE to PI so that we may continue to help meet Michigan exonerees' financial needs when they first get out of prison! (Why do they receive different amounts of money?)

For more information, click on their picture

26 Years
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Lacino Hamilton

$500

Lacino Hamilton was sent to prison in 1994 at the age of 19 and served 26 years of an 80 year sentence for a crime he did not commit. The only thing linking Lacino to the crime was a notorious professional jailhouse snitch who lied and testified in numerous cases.
Where to go from here? Lacino is trying to establish himself in the Lansing area where his support, centered around his lawyer, Mary Chartier, is located. He is currently looking for a car. Some friends have established a GoFundMe to help him off to a better start.

October 2020

20 Years
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Marvin Cotton

$800

Marvin Cotton, age 22, was convicted of the shooting death of Jamond McIntyre in 2001.
Jailhouse informant Ellis Frazier testified that Cotton confessed to the crime while behind bars, however in a March 2014 affidavit Frazier stated “he did not confess to me about being a part of any crime like I testified to at the trial. All of the information and details in the police statement was pre-written and wholly composed by the homicide detective.”
Marvin would like to be an entrepreneur with some well developed ideas of what steps it will take to get there.

October 2020

25 Years
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Anthony Legion
$800

Anthony Legion was wrongfully convicted with his co-defendant, Marvin Cotton, who also was a recipient of the Walking Free Fund. 
While incarcerated, Anthony focused on studying the law. In 2005, he filed a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus. In 2007 U.S. District Judge Paul Gadola granted the writ and ordered Legion's convictions vacated. This was ultimately turned over by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2017. During this time, Anthony helped many other inmates with their appeals.
Anthony is a paralegal and plans to do freelance work for his employment and intends to give significant attention to pro bono work of others wrongfully convicted.

December
2020

17 Years
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Kevin Harrington

$500

Kevin's exuberance is immediately apparent. He is grateful to be out of prison, but Kevin is focusing on looking forward. He wants to tell his story to do what he can to change the system. "This has got to stop!", he said, and wants to play his part.
Kevin is spending 14 days in a hotel after having come from a prison with a high COVID-19 count. He has yet to determine where he will go afterward.

April 2020

17 Years
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George Clark

$500

George is now grateful to be living with his family. As he looks forward, he's considering flipping houses, something he would enjoy doing.
George believes he is the first person in Michigan to file a successive writ of Habeas Corpus in pro per or "in person" without a lawyer. Despite this accomplishment, the judgment was appealed and he was put back into prison. George kept his cool and was eventually released, along with Kevin Harrington by the Wayne County CIU. He wants to express his sincere gratitude to Brandy, Ali and Tiffany of the Jones Day law firm in Columbus, OH.

April 2020

37 Years
walter forbes by Junfu Han-Detroit Free
Photo by Junfu Han-Detroit Free Press

Walter Forbes
$500

Walter Forbes was found guilty of setting a fire in which a person died. He was found guilty mainly based on the testimony of a person whose life and family were threatened by the real arsonist if she did not testify that three innocent persons were the perpetrators.
She finally recanted her testimony in 2017. Walter was exonerated through the efforts of the Michigan Innocence Clinic.
 
Walter had tremendous family support over the years which continues to this day. 

December 2020

Jan 2020

Ramon Ward

$800

Feb 2020

26 Years
5 Years
29 Years
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Gerry Thomas

$500

Despite not matching the description of the assailant, Gerry (right) spent over 29 years in prison. He was exonerated through the efforts of Innocence Project lawyer, Jane Pucher, and the Wayne County CIU. Gerry is grateful to God for leading him. He is glad that he can live with his older brother, Fred (left), and be of help.

Jan 2020

26 Years
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Ramon Ward

$800

Ward, 45, was convicted of killing two women in 1995, based solely on the testimony of a pair of jailhouse snitches and a document a Detroit homicide cop claimed was Ward's confession, which he refused to sign because he insisted it wasn't true.

Feb 2020

8 Years
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Carl Bruner $800

Carl had always maintained his innocence and that he was being framed. His appellate defense argues that they were not allowed to cross-examine Carl's accuser because the witness was not present and his testimony in another man's trial was simply read in court.

Feb 2020

Proving Innocence established its Walking Free Fund in June of 2018. To see other exonerees PI has helped, click on the year.