Ray Krone had been honorably discharged from the military and worked for the U.S. Postal Service for seven years when on Dec.29, 1991 he became the prime suspect in the brutal murder of a 36-year-old woman found fatally stabbed on the floor of a Phoenix bar.
Krone had no prior criminal record and with little DNA evidence collected from the scene, investigators relied on bite marks on the victim’s breast and neck. Krone was flagged as a suspect by police, who were told that he had been at the bar near its closing time. Authorities asked him to make a Styrofoam impression of his teeth to compare the impression with the wounds on the victim’s body. The evidence was considered enough to charge him with murder, kidnapping and sexual assault.
He spent 10 years in prison, including time on death row, before DNA evidence cleared him of the crime and revealed the true perpetrator. He is the 100th former death row inmate freed because of innocence since the reinstatement of capital punishment in the U.S. in 1976. He was the twelfth death row inmate whose innocence has been proven through post-conviction DNA testing.
Today, Krone speaks about his experience of being wrongfully convicted and will visit the S.J. Quinney College of Law on Nov. 17 in a lecture sponsored by the Utah Student Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center.
The lecture will be held at 12:15 p.m. at the law school, 383 South University Street, in room 3603. RSVPs are requested here.
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Jensie Anderson will moderate the discussion. Mistakes related to evidence have been a factor in many cases taken on by Jensie Anderson, a professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law who is also legal director at the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center.
Anderson handled the high-profile case of Bruce Dallas Goodman, who spent 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. He was convicted in 1986 of murdering his girlfriend, Sherry Ann Williams, who was found raped, sodomized, beaten to death and bound near an interstate exit north of Beaver, Utah. At his trial, prosecutors maintained that Goodman was the sole perpetrator of the crime and relied upon the testimony of a mistaken eyewitness to prove his guilt. In 2004, the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center sought DNA testing on Goodman’s behalf. The results of that testing established that the DNA recovered from the victim and the crime scene belonged not to Goodman, but to two unknown perpetrators. In the first case of its kind in Utah, DNA evidence determinatively showed Goodman’s innocence and he was released from prison on Nov. 9, 2004.
In another noteworthy Utah case, Anderson also helped to exonerated Harry Miller, who was convicted of armed robbery in 2003. Although he was actually in Louisiana at the time of the crime, Miller spent almost five years behind bars in Utah based solely upon the victim’s eyewitness misidentification. RMIC developed evidence of his alibi and the Utah Attorney General stipulated to actual innocence in 2011.
Anderson said the event featuring Krone will be beneficial to law students and other community members interested in how research and policies can help steer a more just outcome and potentially reduce the amount of people sent to prison on wrongful convictions.
“It’s important to consider how science can play a role in creating public policies that ultimately can result in fewer innocent people serving time for crimes they did not commit,” said Anderson. “Continued discussion on evidence collection practices is relevant as organizations like RMIC and the Innocence Project continue to exonerate people who have been wrongfully convicted.”