Innocent Philly Man Freed After Spending 24 Years in Prison

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Video screenshot

Twenty-four years ago, Shaurn Thomas was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, but on Tuesday, he walked out of the State Correctional Institution in Frackville, Pa., an innocent man.

In 1990, Thomas was tried and convicted of the murder of Domingo Martinez, who was shot and killed while trying to cash a $25,000 check. Although Thomas’ alibi included already being at a youth correctional facility on the day of the murder, sign-in sheets from the youth facility vanished by the start of the trial.


Thomas, 43, is now a free man thanks to the Pennsylvania Innocence Project and a former police officer-turned-attorney who took on his case in 2011.

“Shaurn engaged in a decadeslong struggle to prove his innocence,” attorney James Figorski said in a statement. “I joined him in that struggle, and many times it seemed that we would never succeed and he would remain in prison for the rest of his life.”

Thomas says that prison taught him how to keep on fighting, and he has no animosity.

“I don’t got no animosity towards nobody. What for? Life’s too short for that. You can’t get it back. I just move on forward. It’s a tragedy that happened to me, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one,” Thomas said.


The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has vacated his conviction and will make a decision regarding a retrial.

Read more at 6ABC.

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A million dollars a year for every year imprisoned will be a good start.

Prisons should always be a financial burden on a state and penalties for false imprisonment should be staggeringly high. Since money seems to be the only thing that changes behavior, we should make sure that states are financially incentivized to a. put as few people in prison as possible b. only imprison truly guilty individuals.