Speaker Series‎ > ‎2012-13 Speakers‎ > ‎

Ronald Kitchen & Carolyn Frazier

Exoneration from Death Row
Tuesday September 11, 2012    12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Community Room
Free Admission

Ronald Kitchen  Carolyn Frazier

Exoneration from Death Row

Ronald Kitchen spent 21 years in prison — 13 of them on Illinois' Death Row — for a quintuple murder he did not commit.  Mr. Kitchen was arrested in 1988, at age 22, after two women and three children were found dead in their home on Chicago's Southwest side. He falsely confessed to committing this crime after being beaten for several hours by detectives working under Commander Jon Burge, who is currently in federal prison for lying under oath about his practice of torturing African-American males into giving confessions in the 1970s and 1980s.

At trial, Mr. Kitchen's conviction rested on his tortured confession, as well as the testimony of a jailhouse snitch, who claimed that Mr. Kitchen had bragged to him over the phone about committing the crime. This snitch has since admitted that he lied when he said Mr. Kitchen had confessed the crime to him. Mr. Kitchen's wrongful conviction also resulted from the failure of prosecutors to provide his defense attorney with several key pieces of evidence, which were not discovered until over a decade after Mr. Kitchen's trial.

In 2000, the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law began to represent Mr. Kitchen. Carolyn Frazier was one of the law students assigned to his case. Alarmed by the injustice that had occurred in the case, Ms. Frazier continued fighting for Mr. Kitchen's freedom long after she graduated from Northwestern. Finally, nine years after she first began working on his case, the Office of the Attorney General joined with the Bluhm Legal Clinic to request the dismissal of all charges against Mr. Kitchen, and he walked out of Chicago's criminal courthouse a free man. A month later, Mr. Kitchen received an official Certificate of Innocence from the courts, acknowledging that he was innocent of the crimes. Over the course of Mr. Kitchen's odyssey, he and Ms. Frazier became, and remain, good friends. Come hear them share their experiences and thoughts about this incredible case.

Co Sponsors:

Student Life
MAGIC Committee
Amnesty International Student Club