125th Inmate Exonerated; Man Acquitted after 16 years on Death Row
– Chattanooga, Ten. Wednesday, Dec 5.
– After spending upwards of 15 years on death row; Michael McCormick was acquitted of all charges involving the 1985 murder of Donna Jean Nichols.
– The DNA test in 2001 confirmed that the hair used in McCormick’s original conviction was in fact, invalid and was not congruent with the hair of Michael.
– McCormick was found guilty in 1987 for the murder of Donna Nichols 23, who was fatally shot in the head and hand.
– The original jury and prosecutors firmly believed her slaying was intended to prevent Donna from notifying the police of a supposed robbery Michael had previously committed with her brother.
– Almost 20 years later Michael McCormick now 55, has been released and freed of all charges as of Wednesday, December 5, 2007.
– McCormick’s attorney, Karla Gothard said after the trial, “We have been living with this case for years, and we are immensely relieved. I can’t imagine what Michael McCormick is feeling.”
– Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood commented, “The way this case has lingered on, there has not been closure for Michael McCormick for 20 years. This system is not perfect, but somehow it works itself out.”
– Upon Michael’s discharge he sympathetically told reporters he was praying for Nichols family.
– He said, “I hope they get the right person and convict them. I had nothing to do with it.”
– Since 1973, 125 people in 26 states have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence.
– For more information on other exoneration cases- www.deathpenaltyinfo.org