24 Yrs wrongful conviction ; Paroled with Multiple Myeloma
Organized by: Mary Stewart
Mary Stewart via Crowdrise
December 07, 2014
EVENT DATE Nov 10, 2014
Douglas Clayton O’Neal was granted parole from South Carolina Department of Probation and Pardon Board on June 11, 2014, after serving 24 years for a Crime He Did Not Commit. He has a cancer, multiple myeloma, and needs help while receiving a stem cell transplant. There will be a long road for recovery and his financial needs are great. He has no money, not because he did not work, he could not; because he was wrongly sentenced to life in prison.
HE IS AN INNOCENT MAN who humbly needs any help you can give.
On July 29, 2014, Mr. O’Neal was escorted out of prison, beyond the walls, which held him, beyond our own imagination of how he stoically endured 24 years in prison while being innocent. Years filled with pleas FOR HELP for HIS CLAIM OF INNOCENCE, years of hearing loud clanking doors behind the barbed wire, waiting and praying for justice. Our justice, the American people, the best some say, in the world. Yet we know any system created by man is without perfection. In addition, no matter how small this margin of error, it is still an error; a grave injustice of humanity. He was a victim of this imperfect system
That day came as any other, and as O’Neal walked toward his freedom; he says he walked with the strength that sustained him throughout his incarnation for 24 years. He walked with God. He walked into the arms and tight embrace of Mr. Jim Morton, the former prosecutor on his case 24 years ago. Mr. Morton was the former assistant solicitor for Richland County, SC and helped convict O'Neal following the jury’s decision. A decision, which would have been different, had all that is now known, been revealed to them then, in 1991. Mr. Morton did not know, the Sheriff's office did not know, and the quest for justice continues. Today he needs help just as he did 24 years ago. There was a rush for justice, and a lot of pressure on the State for a conviction. (Media coverage of Mr. Morton on links below).
July 29, 2014 was a joy-filled day for a man who not only was innocent but also has a non-curable cancer. Mr. O’Neal endured years of pain, which was of an undiagnosed origin until a hospital admission was warranted when he could no longer stand. He had asked for years for testing for cancer, which was hereditary but his request, were never granted. However, the day he learned of this diagnosis, he exclaimed, “I’ll not claim this because I know no matter what I going to be alright. I am in my Father’s hands. Always have been". Dr. CHARLES BUTLER, his oncologist, whom he says is a “Godsend” has treated Mr. O’Neal with great care while he was bound in shackles, through months of chemo and unfortunate delays, which often happen in prison.
Today, with the support of his advocacy team including his Mr. Jim Morton, Claude Humphries, Mary Stewart a volunteer advocate, and many others, who led the tireless pursuit to secure his freedom, Mr. O’Neal remains grateful. His fight for truth continues, even as he faces a stem cell transplant, which we hope will prolong his "new life”. Douglas O’Neal will be at one of the best transplant centers in the country, The Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
The transplant experience can be overwhelming, for both the patient and their loved ones, so he needs to be prepared emotionally, (he is) and financially, (he is not)! We estimate his financial needs are $5000 at a minimum for the care and comfort he will need and the long road he faces for recovery. The funds will be used for the upfront cost he must pay for lodging, transportation, ancillary medical needs which include 24 hour caregiver assistance, co pays for medicine, possible durable medical equipment, food and cell service ( to remain in contact with his loving family) and other fees not covered. Once he is home, he will continue healing, returning for medical care in the months to follow.
Mr. O’Neal’s case is complex, yet the reasons for wrongful convictions are often systemic. The links below from THE INNOCENCE PROJECT help explain the reasons for wrongful convictions. They also cover in debt how these errors of injustice can be prevented by States adopting reforms for prevention. Mr. O'Neal will face the system again, and continue his quest for truth so he can help bring changes to our State and prevent what has happened to him and his family the last 24 years. Please see all links below which provide more detail on his case.
Mr. O’Neal shares his testimony, which is featured on the videotaped eight weeks after his release from prison, while waiting for his transplant date. Mr. Jim Morton is also featured in this segment, which demonstrates the strong bond of friendship, compassion and forgiveness between O'Neal and Morton.Mr. O'Neal says he FORGIVES ALL WHO WRONGLY CONVICTED HIM. HE STATES BITTERNESS AND HATE ONLY CONTINUES TO HURT THE PERSON WHO HAS THIS IN THEIR HEART AND HE CHOOSES TO LIVE WITH FORGIVENESS AND LOVE.
For now, please know your help is needed and greatly appreciated! One day when he is well, he is looking forward to sharing his story. Donate, or write and be sure to pass this story to all you know. Thank you MUSC, all the Doctors, nurses and people who made this happen ! In addition, special thanks to all who lead the fight for truth, and those who protect us as our Richland County officers do everyday to ensure our safety .
LINKS ON MEDIA :
June 13, 2014 Local News WIS-TV PAROLE BOARD'S Decision
JUNE 30, 2014 Day of FREDOM Local news, WIS-TV
Links about Wrongful Convictions:
The Innocence Project http://www.innoce nceproject.org/
The Innocence Project works to exonerate the wrongfully convicted through post conviction DNA testing; and develop and implement reforms to prevent wrongful convictions.
National Registry of Exonerations https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/about.aspx
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the University of Michigan Law School. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The National Registry of Exonerations
MORE LINKS ABOUT INNOCENCE WORK
Sites which provide information on Innocence Organizations, Legal assistance, Exonerate websites , Criminal Justice Resources - Non-Government Organizations and more.
MARK GODSEY FOR HUFFINGTON POST http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-godsey/
Mark Godsey is the Carmichael Professor of Law and Director of the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He serves on the Board of the Innocence Network, and has been a leader in helping the Innocence Movement expand around the globe. A former federal prosecutor, Mark is considered a leading scholar, lawyer, and activist on the subject of wrongful convictions. He is the editor of the Wrongful Convictions Blog, and is a frequent commentator on the subject in the national press.
THE MULTIPLE MYELOMA RESEARCH FOUNDATION http://www.themmrf.org/
A stem cell transplants, in combination with high dose chemotherapy, is a treatment that offers a chance for durable remission of multiple myeloma. High-dose chemotherapy, though effective in killing myeloma cells, also destroys normal blood-forming cells, called hematopoeitic stem cells, in the bone marrow. Stem cell transplantation replaces these important cells. Common side effects of high-dose chemotherapy and transplantation include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mucositis (inflammation of the lining of the mouth and digestive tract), and fatigue. In addition, because the high-dose chemotherapy attacks healthy, disease-fighting cells as well as cancerous cells, there is an increased risk of infection.