Innocent man granted rare posthumous pardon in stabbing case 10 years after a white man confessed
An innocent man who served time for an attempted murder he didn’t commit has been granted a posthumous pardon. The real killer confessed to the crime years earlier.
African American Grover Thompson served a 40-year-sentence and died in prison in 1996 but was recently absolved of the crime he was wrongly accused of. Former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner granted him clemency just days before he left office on Friday.
According to the Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois, Thomspon is the first recipient of posthumous clemency in the history of the state.
An Illinois man was granted posthumous clemency for a stabbing that a serial killer later confessed to committing. Grover Thompson died in 1996 while serving a 40-year sentence.— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) January 15, 2019
It's believed to be the first posthumous clemency in Illinois history. https://t.co/btdG3LLsnB pic.twitter.com/d1sLV8k3Jy
THE CRIME HE DIDN'T COMMIT
Thompson was implicated in the 1981 attempted murder of 72-year-old Ida White after he was identified as the suspect by White and a witness. In 2007, authorities learned Thompson was innocent after serial killer Timothy Krajcir confessed to the crime while serving time in prison for several crimes.
A book about Krajcir’s murders and rape cases revealed Krajcir climbed into the now deceased White’s unlocked bathroom window and ambushed her in the shower. He slashed her with a pocketknife while she was screaming. White later recounted that her attacker was a Black man which her neighbor who helped her during the attack, Barney Bates also corroborated.
The exoneration of Grover Thompson is the first posthumous exoneration in Illinois and only the 21st such exoneration nationwide, as documented by the National Registry of Exonerations. We are proud to be able to bring justice to Grover's legacy. pic.twitter.com/vgeEZUZ9n4— IL Innocence Project (@InnocenceIL) January 15, 2019
Thompson was arrested near White’s house shortly after while sleeping at a post office in Mount Vernon. He had just gotten off the bus which was supposed to take him to Milwaukee. He decided to stay the night before traveling again the next day. Bates also identified him when police placed him in a suspect line up that curiously only featured one person – him.
Krajcir is White which also casts doubts on his guilt but it is believed White and her neighbor mistook him for Black due to his dark hair and dark skin color.
Grover Thompson was wrongly-convicted of murder by an all-white jury. He died in prison. Through the efforts of his family and the Illinois Innocence Project, he received a posthumous pardon from former Gov. Bruce Rauner. Learn more here.https://t.co/gcmCm1IFl7 pic.twitter.com/B6pKT9hmzK— WNIJ (@WNIJNews) January 16, 2019
ON HIS CLEMENCY
Thompson’s nephew, S.T. Jamison is thankful that justice was finally served to his uncle though he is already long gone.
“We cannot bring this beautiful man back, whom we loved so much, but we can clear his name. That’s been what the family has wanted to do all these years."
Thompson was previously denied clemency by Rauner in 2015 for no particular reason.
Grover Thompson was granted the first posthumous exoneration in Illinois and the 21st nationally. SIU law students and the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project began investigating the case in 2011.— SIU School of Law (@SIUSchoolofLaw) January 15, 2019
Read more:https://t.co/Fm7E5VFjSb#siulaw #illinoisinnocenceproject
A WOMAN SERVING LIFE RECEIVES CLEMENCY
Meanwhile, a woman whose conviction was questioned by several public figures was recently granted clemency. Cyntoia Brown, who was sentenced to life in prison when she was 16 will be set free in August. She confessed to the killing of a man who hired her for sex while she was a minor and under the care of a pimp. She claimed it was self-defense.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam ordered the release of Cyntoia Brown, sex-trafficking victim, who is now 30, after almost 15 years behind bars. She was tried as an adult and convicted in 2006 when she was 16.— BLACK GIRLS ROCK! (@BLACKGIRLSROCK) January 7, 2019
#cyntoiabrown #justiceforcyntoiabrown pic.twitter.com/kf4VCRcF1k
For years, the public clamored for her release, defending her actions and blaming it on her troubled past – having left her home at a young age and being forced to resort to prostitution. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna rallied behind her and finally received gratification when the announcement of her release was made after showing good behavior and rebuilding her life in prison.
The system has failed. It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this. #FreeCyntoiaBrown pic.twitter.com/73y26mLp7u— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) November 21, 2017
Brown thanked all the people that helped her and vowed to help others as well when she’s finally free.