State: North Carolina
DNA used in exoneration? No
Reasons for wrongful conviction:
Perjury or false accusation
Inadequate legal defense
Ed's Wrongful Conviction
Glen "Ed" Edward Chapman of North Carolina was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1992 murders of Betty Jean Ramseur and Tenene Yvette Conley, spending 15 years on death row for a crime he did not commit.
During his trial, Ed had poor representation and faced corrupt police investigators. His initial lawyer had been disciplined by the state bar association for incompetence and his other defense attorney admitted to a drinking problem – self-reportedly taking 12 shots of rum each night while working on another capital case. Furthermore, the chief police detective for the murder investigation later faced criminal charges himself for lying on the witness stand to win a conviction. The detective withheld evidence about a witness identifying someone else at the crime scene, a victim being seen alive after Ed had last been with her, and another man in jail boasting of how well he’d hidden the body of one of the victims. The judge presiding over Chapman’s appeal also concluded that case documents had been lost or destroyed and that the prosecution’s original evidence had been weak and circumstantial. Finally, a forensic pathologist concluded that the death of one of the victims was “undetermined” – it was quite possible that she had died of a cocaine overdose and not been murdered.
On April 2, 2008, prison guards approached Glen Edward Chapman as he stepped out of the shower and told him to pack up. He assumed he was being moved to the section of the prison that houses inmates awaiting new trials, as he had recently been granted a new trial. When instead he was simply released after 15 years, it was the surprise of a lifetime. Prosecutors had dropped all charges against him, and he was finally able to resume his life as a free man.
Ed's Work Today
Ed is involved in criminal justice reform and maintains a positive attitude despite the trials he has endured. “I can forgive. That doesn’t mean I have to forget,” says Chapman.
Life After Death Row: The True Story of Glen Edward Chapman
Written by Ed Chapman and Alex Cury
"This is a story of police misconduct, irresponsible counsel and the team that worked together to prove Chapman's innocence and save his life."
In The Media:
4.2.08 Death Row Inmate Freed After 15 Years
5.21.12 Innocent, but broke
12.9.16 North Carolina Man Awaits Compensation Four Years After Death Row Exoneration