Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Freedom Ball" Thurs 4/1 celebrates Death Row exoneree

(AC-T photo of Edward Chapman by Leslie Boyd)
From a press release:

The Freedom Ball at the Grey Eagle Music Hall:
Celebrating Edward Chapman's Life After Death Row

WHAT: The Second Annual Freedom Ball for Exoneree Edward Chapman with bands Ras B. & Friends and Current Invention
WHEN: Thursday, April 1, from 7 pm till midnight
WHERE: The Grey Eagle Music Hall, 185 Clingman Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina
CONTACT: Alex Cury (828) 253-5088; Edward Chapman (828) 989-4074; Pam Laughon (828)712-2114; Frank Goldsmith (828) 230-6977

Asheville -- Don't miss the second annual Freedom Ball at the Grey Eagle Music Hall on Thursday, April 1, from 7pm till midnight, featuring the bands Ras B & Friends and Current Invention, celebrating the second anniversary of Edward Chapman's release from North Carolina's death row after spending more than thirteen years there for two murders he did not commit. The fundraiser for Chapman costs $12 at the door and includes a silent auction.

Chapman was released from death row on April 2. 2008, after a judge ruled that police had withheld evidence of his innocence and lied at his trial, his lawyers were "ineffective" and one of the women Edward allegedly murdered probably wasn't murdered at all.

Chapman was the seventh man exonerated and released from North Carolina's death row, and the 128th death row exoneree across the nation.

The cases for which Chapman was convicted and sentenced to die took place in Hickory, North Carolina, where Edward was born and spent most of his life. Upon his release, Chapman was encouraged to move to Asheville by UNC-Asheville Professor Pam Laughon, who served as the mitigation specialist on the defense team that finally won Edward's freedom.

Asheville seemed like the right place to start a new life, Chapman concluded, and with the help of Laughon and her vast contingent of students and friends, he did just that.

Besides his job at the Renaissance Hotel and any odd job he can get, Edward has volunteered his time to speak to troubled youth, college students, churches, and other groups and organizations, and to lobby for criminal justice reforms. Chapman was featured in the powerful video that helped win passage last year of the NC Racial Justice Act. See

"Don't look at me as a victim," says Chapman. "Look at me as a survivor."

Chapman's lead attorney, Frank Goldsmith of Asheville, says of him, "What a remarkable man! Never did Edward give up, in his many long years on death row, when it seemed no one cared about him or his case."

About his case, Chapman's other attorney, Jessica Leaven Friedman of Chapel Hill, says, "Everything you can imagine going wrong in a capital case went wrong."

Chapman's forthcoming book, "Life After Death Row", tells the full story of biased jurors, inept attorneys, crooked cops, and lying witnesses.

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