continuing the work of john thompson
As a tribute to JT, please join us in carrying on his work through one or all of the following actions:
The Witness to Innocence family suffered a heartrending loss when John Thompson, affectionately known as “JT” to those who knew and loved him, passed away on October 3rd, 2017.
We are dedicating World Day Against the Death Penalty (10/10/17) - and the entire month of October - to the life and vision of our beloved member, JT.
JT was wrongfully incarcerated for 18 years at Louisiana’s infamous Angola prison – 14 of those years on death row. He was a legendary exonerated death row survivor and earned national fame as the protagonist in the Connick v. Thompson case that was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2007, JT founded Resurrection after Exoneration, a New Orleans-based group that bought and renovated houses for exonerees and other ex-prisoners to live in, started and operated businesses for and by the disenfranchised, and became a thunderous force for justice in New Orleans and Louisiana. JT’s partnership with the Innocence Project New Orleans and the national Innocence Project was a core part of his life and personal mission.
JT will be forever enshrined in the annals of Witness to Innocence history. He joined our group in 2007 and became a respected leader in the organization from the very first time he addressed his fellow exonerees at a Gathering held in Philadelphia. JT’s fierce, unyielding voice for justice was an integral part of our Gatherings, death penalty abolition speaking tours, and the fight for the rights of the exonerated over the last decade. It was JT who successfully challenged us to include advocacy for our members as a part of our mission, equal and complementary to the goal of abolishing the death penalty. In 2017, JT was elected by his fellow exonerees to serve as their representative on the WTI board of directors.
JT was taken from his wife Laverne, his children and grandchildren, and his community at far too young an age, almost certainly due to the living conditions at Angola and the physical toll of the stress and trauma of being innocent yet coming so close to execution. But his work was far from complete - JT was actively engaged in fighting for justice on so many fronts. Thank you for helping to carry on his work.