In 1975, Kwame Ajamu was wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He was just 17 years old.
When Ajamu was a teenager, he, his brother and a friend were found guilty for the murder and robbery of a man named Harold Franks in Cleveland, Ohio. The only evidence against them was a single eyewitness: 13-year old Eddie Vernon, who claimed to have seen the three teens commit the crime.
With no physical or forensic evidence, no prior criminal record and several credible alibis from defense witnesses, Ajamu and his co-defendants were convicted and sentenced to death. Decades later, Vernon, the single witness, confessed that he’d lied to police about what he had seen, but at just 13, was afraid to come forward with his confession. Ajamu spent 28 years of his life behind bars—some of that time on death row waiting to be executed by the state.
Death ≠ Justice
Death sentences, executions and public support for capital punishment are at historic lows in the United States, but there are nearly 3,000 people currently on death row. The death penalty is still legal in 31 states across the U.S., but its use has been steadily declining. It’s often cited as a deterrent to crime but lawmakers, human rights organizations and the public recognize that capital punishment doesn't create safer communities, doesn't address the root causes of crime, is not applied fairly across the country, and exonerees are living proof that the system is flawed by failing to ensure that innocent people, like Ajamu, won’t be wrongfully sentenced to death and executed for crimes they didn’t commit.
Capital punishment is an archaic practice that has no place in our modern society. Studies show that 90 million Americans oppose the death penalty and many are working to repeal it state by state. It’s time to abolish this archaic practice. Visit your local Lush shop to sign the petition, share #HaltAllExecutions on your social media channels, and pick up the 31 States Bath Bomb, which supports the abolition of the death penalty across the 31 American states where it's still legal. 100 percent of the sales of this grounding almond-rosewood fizzer will be donated to organizations, like the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Witness to Innocence and Death Penalty Focus, that are working to mobilize and engage Americans and empower exonerees to abolish capital punishment in the United States.