Wednesday, March 30, 2011

UPDATE: Asheville, North Carolina: Third Annual Freedom Ball for Edward Chapman NC DR Exoneree

Alexandra Cury with Edward Chapman
Ms. Cury is a lawyer who's been one of Chapman's major supporting team both while he was on death row and since. She is the founder and key "propeller" of the Annual Freedom Ball and has worked with Ed Chapman on his life story. The final edition of of this book will be out this spring.

UPDATE - a Video of the Freedom Ball here

Edward Chapman, 41, of Asheville, who spent 14 on Death Row wrongly convicted of two murders, arrives at UNC-Asheville for a 2009 celebration party of his first year of freedom. He is hugged buy Psychology Department Chairwoman Pam Laughon who led the investigation into his case and helped win his freedom. / CITIZEN-TIMES FILE
Written by STAFF REPORTS published 3:40 pm ET March 30, 2011

ASHEVILLE — Third Annual Freedom Ball: A Fundraiser for NC Death Row Exoneree Edward Chapman will be held March 31. Doors open for food and drink at 6 p.m.; the music will play from 7 p.m.-midnight.

Edward Chapman celebrates his third year of freedom, after more than thirteen years on North Carolina's death row for crimes he did not commit, with a musical lineup featuring David LaMotte, Skinny Legs & All, The Krektones, and Kinjah. The event features a silent auction as well as an all-star musical lineup.

Among the items for auction are a basketball signed by Shaquille O'Neal and Dwayne Wade. Edward Chapman, tomorrow night, Thursday, March 31, at the Grey Eagle Music Hall from 7 till midnight. All proceeds ($10 student; $15 general and $25 patron tickets) will available at the door starting at 6pm.

Three years after his release, Chapman continues working at the Renaissance Hotel. He also donates his time to speak to youth and other groups of people who find meaning and inspiration in his story. Chapman plans to release his book this spring, Life After Death Row: The True Story of Glen Edward Chapman. A cable pilot of his story was filmed last year in Hickory and may also air this spring on BET's new show, "Vindicated."

Chapman's case was fraught with police misconduct. Hickory police detectives hid evidence of Chapman's innocence, including a lineup in which the eyewitness made a positive identification of another man, as well as a confession by another man. Chapman's lawyers did not bother to investigate multiple reports by people who saw the victim the day after the prosecution claimed she was murdered by Edward. Nor did they pursue any investigation of the prime suspects in the case.

It was only when local attorney Frank Goldsmith and mitigation specialist Dr. Pam Laughon, chair of the Psychology Department at UNC-Asheville, started working on Edward's case more than a decade later that the truth began to be revealed. Even then, it took years to achieve justice and secure Chapman's freedom. His son had grown up and his own mother had died while Chapman was wrongly imprisoned.
The Grey Eagle Music Hall is located at 185 Clingman Avenue.

For more information, contact Alex Cury at or 253-5088 or Pam Laughon at 712-2114 or Alex Holsten 910-471-0822.

See and Read more on Glenn Edward Chapman just below from his visit to Brevard, NC

Published originally in Hendersonville Times News - Thursday September 17, 2009
(in Community Section)

Edward Chapman: Free, Upfront and In Charge

By Connie L. Nash

When Edward Chapman described death row last Thursday at Transylvania County Library, he said he liked to be “upfront from the git-go”. Attention around the table grew and folk leaned further in while Chapman told of his troubled past and struggles to survive a corrupt environment where some guards had more to do with a prostitution ring and bringing in drugs than the prisoners did.

Chapman was also candid about his inner struggle and success to inwardly become and stay free along with his regrets as a son, a husband, a father and more. His mother and common-law wife died during his imprisonment. He watched his beloved son’s anger toward him grow over the years – especially after his wife’s death. Chapman’s eyes filled with tears a few times in the telling. Still, he said, through all those years he prayed and “never gave up - if you throw in the towel," he said, "no one wants to hear you cry."

Daily conditions? Food was terrible. “Floodlights twenty-four seven - THAT was torture and we had to take our shower five minutes max or pick up cigarette butts. Sometimes punishment was to move us old guys where the younger play rap music all the time." Classes and the arts? These were discontinued. “We were told,” Chapman said, “You're not here to learn - you're here to die.”

Behind bars for fifteen years, Chapman said he liked to think for himself and to learn from others who did the same - like the inmate who "visited" a different country every day via maps and knew facts and figures as if he’d been there. Chapman didn't mind being alone. He liked reading deep poetry - looking for the "story within the story". He got interested in writing his own poems and asking others to decipher his own hidden meaning. People began calling him “The Philosopher King” – they still do.

Chapman wrote letters daily and kept records of "every act of kindness" – he wrote with the faith that someone – somewhere would help him get free. Eventually he got to know the Chair of the Psychology Dept. at UNC-Asheville, Dr. Pam Laughon, who looked under every legal rock - for years – even after a string of state-appointed lawyers had failed.

Finally, Attorney Frank Goldsmith and Professor Laughon (become Mitigation Specialist) put together a winning case.

On April 2, 2008 Glen Edward Chapman became the seventh inmate freed in NC due to wrongful conviction . In summary, he was erroneously charged with the murders of two women by sloppy lawyers, ineffective counsel, and numerous other roadblocks. In the case 'State v. Glen Edward Chapman' NC Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin found that each of the lead detectives assigned to the case had covered up exculpatory evidence inconsistent with the State’s theory of his guilt.

Chapman said, "I hit the road running." Alexandra Cury, head of the North Carolina Coalition for a Moratorium , added “He works harder than anyone else at the Asheville hotel where he's been recently promoted from dishwasher to the most popular staff member of Housekeeping and has lots of friends. He works extra every chance he gets. He never drinks. Chapman said that he wanted to do everything possible to stay clear-headed.

According to Chapman and the legal team, racial discrimination may have played a strong role in the false charges. His testimony was added to many other such statements spoken on behalf of “The North Carolina Racial Justice Act” which Governor Beverly Perdue signed the Act into law August 11, 2009. Over 60% of those on NC Death Row are black.

Since 1973, nationwide 135 people have been exonerated and freed from death row –. including five people in 2009.

Percentage-wise, for every six people executed in North Carolina – there’s been one person freed from death row. There are nine stories of the wrongful conviction of people with strong innocent cases posted at the “ North Carolina Coalition for a Moratorium” website under “Wrongful Convictions”. There may well be more such cases.

What’s next for Chapman? Asked - “Why don’t you sound bitter?" Chapman said, "I'm in control of my life now. I’m free. It's like winning the lottery… When you're bitter, other people have power over you." “Edward’s dad’s a chef” Cury added “and one day Edward would love to be one.” There is one more goal, Cury told the group: like most released prisoners, Chapman was sent from prison minus resources to help start a new life. He and his supporters are seeking a “Pardon of Innocence” from Governor Bev Perdue so that he may receive the compensation he is due, "from the State of North Carolina for his unjust and unlawful incarceration."

Along with many cheering supporters, I pray Glen Edward Chapman will succeed. GO Edward and god-speed - stay free, upfront and in charge each day for the rest of your life!

END article

This item posted on The Journey of Hope blogsite (where I co-blog) where you can find other links to Ed Chapman - CLICK here

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