Sunday, December 14, 2008


On November 12, 2008, Dennis Fritz and Tiffany Murphy ( Director of the Midwestern Innocence Project in Kansas City, Missouri ), attended the 60th annual gala event, at the American Society of Criminology in St. Louis, Missouri.

Upon invitation from Barbara Zaitzow,(the Chair person for the Appalachian State University Criminology Dept. ) Dennis Fritz and Tiffany Murphy met Barbara for the first time at the convention. Barbara’s zeal and radiant personality greatly inspired Dennis and Tiffany—as well as everyone else around her. Within the beautiful setting of the Hyatt Hotel ( located directly beside the renowned Arch, overlooking the mighty Mississippi ) thousands of people from all over the world, joined together, to gain a greater understanding about the theory and insight, of different types of criminal behavior. The atmosphere was bussing with high excitement and jubilation, as everyone anxiously checked into their rooms, and headed directly for registration.

Dennis quickly found a table and set up his books, then circulated throughout the crowds introducing himself; while making many new friends and future contacts. Even though the actual programs did not start until the next day, people were still coming in by the groves to get an early start on the beginning of the three day event.

After a long and luxurious breakfast, Dennis, Tiffany, and Barbara made their way upstairs to their assigned Rose Garden conference room. Before the event, Dennis and Tiffany just happened to bump into Cathleen Burnett, who is one of Kansas City’s very own leaders, in the Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Once inside the conference room, Dennis, Tiffany, and Barbara took their places at the panel table. To an audience of around 50 people, Barbara began by introducing Mr. Fritz and Ms. Murphy. After sharing some of her own insights with the group, Barbara turned over the podium to Dennis, to tell his nightmare out-of-hell story, of having been wrongfully convicted of 1st Degree Capital Murder. He was sentenced to a life sentence, and had to do 12 hard, torturous years in a very tough penitentiary—before being exonerated by DNA evidence. As usual, Dennis gained everyone’s astute attention throughout his spellbinding presentation.

Next, Tiffany began her presentation by sharing with the audience, the tremendous hurdles and obstacles that have to be overcome in effectively running an innocence Project. Tiffany’s strong and assertive words were not only clear and convincing, but had everyone on the edge of their seats. When Tiffany finished, everyone in the room was much more aware and educated as to the overall pitfalls in successfully establishing an inmate’s actual innocence. Following her talk, each of the 3 panelists answered questions—which were quite diverse and challenging. At the close, Mr. Fritz autographed several of his book(s)—Journey Toward Justice!
What a wonderful and powerful conference this year turned out to be.
Click here for photos of event

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