January 8th, 2021, after twenty-six years of being held captive on death row anxiously waiting for execution, 67-year-old Mississippi native Eddie Lee Howard Jr. walks free. This date is marked as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for Mr. Howard as he walks free from a wrongful decision to be executed made by the racist, corrupt system we call the Supreme Court of Mississippi. He was charged in 1994 for the alleged murder and rape of an 82-year-old Georgia Kemp, a white woman, based on fraudulent evidence presented in the courtroom. The evidence presented at trial to convict Howard was scientifically inaccurate DNA from a bite mark on the victim’s body. From the day, the Death Penalty and Information center label Howard as the 174th victim exonerated in the United States since 1973, plus the sixth in Mississippi.
Howard was arrested in 1992 for the murder and alleged rape of 82-year-old Georgia Kemp. His conviction was solely constructed off of the falsified, synthetic testimony of forensic scientists Dr.Steven Hayne and Michael West. No thorough evidence was present during the trial to pin Mr. Howard to the crime scene. The judge didn’t take the time to thoroughly examine the decision of conviction. No pictures of the bite marks were present at trial, no tests…nothing, but a misleading testament based on prejudicial bias. For years in the eyes of the Mississippi Supreme Court, the black man was usually the main prime suspect in acts of crime.
The Mississippi Innocence project acknowledged the false accusations given from the case. They also found that Eddie Lee Howard Jr. wasn’t the only victim of Dr.West’s lies, but he was the “one of the four people” convicted according to UPI. It was brought to the attention of attorney Scott Colum that when reviewing the case details he blatantly stated that the evidence presented at the trial of 1994 wasn’t “remotely close to sufficient evidence to convict Mr. Howard”. This resulted in his decision of dropping the charges against Mr.Eddie Lee Howard Jr. including the death penalty.
Eddie Lee Howard Jr. was robbed for 26 years of his life because of the mistake of the supreme court. He was automatically labeled a deviant the minute he was born into society. He is automatically a target for being labeled as a criminal because of the ingrained and intolerant stereotypes already set from the stubborn, old fashioned community. There are other victims whose lives were destroyed by the hands of the Supreme Court. Even Though he is now a free man…those years of his life would never be replaced. There are other African-Americans wrongfully incarcerated for crimes based on tampered evidence. This case should serve as an alarm to our community, especially our black community, to know what ignorant evil stereotypes the world sees us as.