Meet Our Staff
David A. Love, Executive Director
David Love directs the daily operations and strategic planning and management of Witness to Innocence, as well as its relations with national and international organizations and donors. David has more than fifteen years of experience as a community organizer, editor, human rights advocate, journalist, legal advocate, legislative staff person, and executive director. He has an extensive background in working with prison issues, police abuse cases, and other human rights issues. He has written and lectured around the world on the issue of the U.S. death penalty. Previously, David served as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, working with legislators in the General Assembly in Harrisburg. He also served as law clerk to two federal judges—the Honorable James T. Giles of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Honorable Ronald L. Ellis of the Southern District of New York. David is also Executive Editor of BlackCommentator.com, and a contributor to the Huffington Post, TheGrio.com (NBC News), Progressive Media Project, and the Guardian. David received a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies from Harvard College, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He also holds a Certificate in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford.
Kirk Bloodsworth, Director of Advocacy
Kirk Bloodsworth is Director of Advocacy for Witness to Innocence. A honorably discharged former Marine, Kirk is the first person in the United States exonerated from death row by DNA testing. In 1984 he was arrested for the rape and murder of nine-year-old Dawn Hamilton. He was sentenced to death in Baltimore County, Maryland, in 1985. After Kirk’s conviction was reversed in 1986, Kimberly Shay Ruffner, who was serving a sentence for another rape, would later be linked by DNA to the rape and murder of the child. The circumstantial evidence pointing Kirk to the 1984 crime was the testimony of five witnesses who placed him either with the victim or near the scene of the crime. But the Maryland Court of Appeals overturned his conviction in 1986, finding that the prosecution had illegally withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense. Kirk was retried and convicted again, and sentenced to two life terms. In 1992, Kirk read about a new forensic breakthrough called DNA fingerprinting, and lobbied successfully for prosecutors approval for its use on evidence collected at the crime scene in 1985. The tests incontrovertibly established Kirk’s innocence, and he was released in June 1993. In December 1994, Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer granted Kirk a full pardon based on innocence, and he receive compensation. In addition to his work for Witness to Innocence, Kirk has been an ardent supporter of the Innocence Protection Act (IPA) since its passage by Congress in February 2000. The IPA established the Kirk Bloodsworth Post-Conviction DNA Testing Program, a program that helps states defray the costs of post-conviction DNA testing. He previously served as a program officer for the Justice Project in Washington, DC., and is the subject of the book, Bloodsworth: the True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA by Tim Junkin, and of an upcoming documentary by Gregory Bayne, Bloodsworth: An Innocent Man.
Ray Krone, Director of Membership and Training
Ray Krone is the Director of Membership and Training for Witness to Innocence, and one of our organization’s co-founders. He has responsibility for overseeing membership cohesion among the exonerees, and for developing and delivering trainings to new speakers and media spokespeople at WTI. Ray is the 100th person to be exonerated from death row in the United States. Before his exoneration in 2002, Ray spent more than ten years in Arizona prisons, including nearly three years on death row, for a murder he did not commit. Since then he has become one of the nation’s most recognized public voices for abolition, and has spoken throughout the United States and Europe, appearing before hundreds of groups, state legislatures, and other governmental bodies. He has been featured in People and Parade magazines, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and has appeared on Good Morning America, the BBC, Investigative Discovery Channel and more.
Kathy Spillman, Director of Programs and Outreach
Kathy Spillman is responsible for coordinating local, national and international speaking events; outreach activities to new partners and audiences; and facilitating media relations for Witness to Innocence. She is also editor of our awesome website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. Kathy has more than 20 years of experience in program development and management for non-profits and higher education institutions, and has won awards for her outreach programs to diverse constituencies, including the U.S. military and the Philadelphia heritage arts community. She has also served as a trainer and consultant for human rights, environmental, and youth advocacy organizations in Macedonia, Ukraine, Armenia, and the Czech Republic (where she was a Fulbright Scholar in 2003), and has taught human rights and civics to middle and high school students in Romania and Poland. She served as the Senior Academic Resource Specialist for the the Close Up Foundation, the nation's largest non-profit, non-partisan civic education organization, where she organized hundreds of seminars and workshops on domestic and foreign policy for high school students, teachers, and senior citizens from around the United States, and was Associate Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She also served as a program consultant for Penn's Graduate School of Education, Camden County College, and the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. Kathy has an MA in International Relations and Arabic from Georgetown University and has traveled to more than 20 extraordinary countries, but thinks Philadelphia is the best city in the world. She is naturally a big Phillies fan.
Mariko Franz, Deputy Director
Mariko Franz has over ten years of experience working in nonprofits on an administrative and organizational level. Most recently, Mariko worked at the regionally-based Clean Air Council in Philadelphia as their Membership Coordinator. Previously, she served as an Administrative Assistant at the American Friends Service Committee, and as Administrative Manager to the Student Environmental Action Coalition. In addition, she worked on a number of local issues in Philadelphia, including public education, the school-to-prison pipeline, immigrant rights, and gentrification. Mariko received her Bachelor of Arts in Education and History from Temple University. Originally from Pittsburgh, Mariko now considers Philadelphia home, where she lives with her husband and daughter.
Ron Keine, Assistant Director of Membership and Training
Ron Keine works with Ray Krone and Delbert Tibbs as an Assistant Director of Membership and Training for Witness to Innocence. Ron was one of four men convicted of the murder and kidnapping of a University of New Mexico student in 1974. He and his co-defendants were sentenced to death before an investigation by The Detroit News uncovered lies by the prosecution’s star witness, perjured identification given under police pressure, and the use of poorly administered lie detector tests. Ron was released in 1976 after the murder weapon was traced to a law enforcement officer who admitted to the killing. Ron’s powerful prose on the death penalty has appeared in both scholarly and literary arts publications, and he was recently honored by the Texas House of Representatives.
Delbert Tibbs, Assistant Director of Membership of Training
Delbert Tibbs works with Ray Krone and Ron Keine as an Assistant Director of Membership and Training for Witness to Innocence. A former graduate student at the Chicago Theology Seminary, Delbert was on a self-described spiritual journey, walking across the country, when he was arrested for a rape and murder he did not commit. The surviving witness changed her description of the killer after seeing Polaroid pictures of Delbert, and came close to acknowledging that the actual killer was her ex-boyfriend in court before the judge called a recess. An all-white jury returned a guilty verdict and death sentence in less than two days. With tremendous public support, Delbert accessed better legal representation and was exonerated from Florida's death row in 1977. He is the unofficial bard of the exonerated and the abolition movement, with his poems being published and translated around the world, and is currently working on a memoir of his life and times.
Corbin Gardner, Mercy Volunteer Corps Program Assistant
Corbin Gardner is Witness to Innocence’s Mercy Volunteer Corps Program Assistant for the 2013-2014 program year. He was born and raised in Southeast Iowa in the town of Ottumwa, and firmly believes that today is a great day to be a Hawkeye. He recently graduated from Creighton University of Omaha, Nebraska, with a B.S.B.A. in Economics and a philosophy minor. Corbin has enjoyed international travel to parts of Africa and South America and hopes to visit every continent someday. Corbin believes strongly in the dignity of each person, and this conviction guides his efforts to serve others, especially those on the margins of society. He plans to pursue a vocation as an attorney to serve others through his work. He also intends to maintain a long-distance relationship with the Creighton Blue Jays, despite being in hostile Big East territory.