Thursday, August 1, 2002 Contact: BRENDA BOWSER



Juvenile Offender Larry Osborne acquitted of 1997 double murder

WASHINGTON, DC — Larry Osborne became the nation’s 102nd exonerated death row inmate since 1973, according to an announcement made today by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). Osborne was sentenced to death in 1999 following his conviction for the murder of two elderly victims in Whitley County, Ky. He was 17 at the time of the crime and has spent over three years on Kentucky’s death row.

The Kentucky Supreme Court reversed Osborne’s conviction based on its finding that the trial court allowed inadmissible hearsay testimony from a witness, Joe Reid. Reid passed away prior to the original trial and, therefore, could not face cross-examination during Osborne’s first trial. At his re-trial completed today, Osborne was acquitted of all charges and set free.

“As the number of death row exonerees continues to rise, the risk of fatal error within our system becomes increasingly clear,” said Richard C. Dieter, DPIC Executive Director. “This is further evidence that our system of capital punishment is so seriously flawed that all executions should be stopped.”

Osborne is the fourth death row exoneration in 2002, and the first man to walk free from Kentucky’s death row since the state restored the death penalty in 1975. The first 2002 exoneree was Juan Melendez, a Florida man who spent nearly two decades on death row before a judge ordered his release. Ray Krone, the nation’s 100th exoneree and the second death row inmate to be freed this year, was released in April in Arizona after DNA tests excluded him from the crime. The third exoneree was Thomas H. Kimbell, Jr., of Pennsylvania. He spent four years on Pennsylvania’s death row before the jury at his retrial acquitted him of all charges in May.

For more information about this case, please contact Osborne’s attorney, Gail Robinson, at (502) 227-2142. To speak with other death penalty experts, please call Kevin McNally (502) 227-2142 or Richard Dieter at DPIC (202) 293-6970. # # #