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Reporter to speak on unjust murder cases
(March 22, 1999)

Donald Connery, a Time journalist who has virtually covered the world and now concentrates on reporting about people unjustly accused of murder, will speak at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24, in South Campus room A112.

Now a resident of Kent, Conn., Connery, 73, combines journalism with activism and has been lobbying for three years to pass a bill requiring police to videotape suspect interviews. He is the author of Guilty Until Proven Innocent, a book about the Connecticut case of then teenager Peter Reilly, who was accused of murdering his mother and later proven innocent.

Connery is now writing a book and making a film about the case of Michael Pardue in Alabama. Pardue has been in prison for more than 25 years. He confessed to three murders as a 17-year old but the confession, Connery says, was forced from him by police and was false.

Although the homicide convictions have been overturned, Pardue remains imprisoned on life-without-parole for briefly escaping three times and thus being subject to Alabama's "three strikes" law.

In Connecticut alone, there are at least six cases of convictions resulting from police interrogation misconduct and misdeeds by prosecutors, Connery says. "To put it simply, innocent people are imprisoned far more often that the system admits, the press reports, or the public knows," he says. "And because law enforcement does not like to face up to its mistakes, it is almost always a struggle to free the innocent."

A veteran journalist, Connery worked for Time Inc. in India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Pakistan, Australia, Russia, the U.K., and in Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The talk is sponsored by the Journalism Department and the Department of Residential Life.

Karen Grava