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Death Row Inmate Freed After 15 Years

Posted April 2, 2008
Updated April 3, 2008

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— Glen Edward Chapman, sentenced to death for two murders in 1992, walked out of prison a free man Wednesday.

"The day is finally here. The day is finally here. It felt good. I’m still shocked, but I feel good,” Chapman said.

Catawba County District Attorney James Gaither Jr. dismissed the charges against Chapman on Wednesday.

Chapman was convicted in 1994 of the murders of Betty Jean Ramseur and Tenene Yvette Conley in Hickory.

In November, he was granted a new trial when Superior Court Judge Robert C. Ervin learned detectives in the case had withheld and covered up evidence that pointed to Chapman's innocence. Detective Dennis Rhoney had also perjured himself at Chapman’s original trial, Ervin said.

"I don't think it gets much worse than perjury by a sworn officer of the law to put a man on death row when you know he doesn't belong there,” Chapman’s attorney, Frank Goldsmith, said.

Ervin also noted that a forensic pathologist could not even prove that Conley's death was a homicide.

Chapman found out just 10 minutes before his release that he was about to be a free man.

"Everybody was like, ‘You are going home.’ I still didn't believe it until I was actually out,” he said.

Chapman said he was not angry about the time he spent in prison.

"I’m tired, but not angry. I see no need for it. ... You can't go back and give somebody 15 or 16 years back. I did my crying the first couple of years I was there,” he said.

Chapman acknowledges there are problems with the justice system, but said a system is necessary.

He said he will miss his friends on death row. Chapman said he believes some of them are also innocent.

"I wouldn't be surprised. The question is, is somebody going to do anything about it? I was lucky,” he said.

The Hickory Police Department issued a statement Wednesday saying investigations into Ramseur's and Conley's deaths have been reopened.

Ervin also found fault with Chapman’s trial defense attorneys, Robert Adams and Thomas Portwood. The North Carolina State Bar disciplined Adams, and Portwood was removed from another death penalty case and entered treatment for alcohol abuse.

Detective Rhoney no longer works for the Hickory Police Department.

Chapman said he is looking forward to getting to know his two sons and going to Disneyland.

157 Comments

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  • ts807 Apr 3, 7:47 p.m.

    Ken D. - You hit the nail on the head. Especially since we live in the South, and there are SO many people a LOT worse than bossman and mugofstout (and dataclerk) out there. I hope none of you have to perform jury duty. Or, if you do, I hope that the defendant truly IS guilty in whatever trial(s) you serve for, because you will all spit out guilty verdicts.

    Unless it was, of course, an abortion clinic bombing or an anti-black/hispanic/gay hate crime or something else that most right-wingnuts think is perfectly OK.

  • jamesjmoore999 Apr 3, 6:09 p.m.

    Just think, at the drop of a hat we can all have our freedoms taken away in an instant. How many of us would have been convicted if there was an officer of the law willing to lie to win the case? Scary.....so scary.

  • denverbob234 Apr 3, 5:04 p.m.

    kind of make you wander which is the real threat to society, the accused defendants or the criminal justice sysytem. Seems pretty regular that we hear about how the cops or the DA or some expert witness lied to get a conviction. Then we find out, the wrong person was convicted. The idea of getting "a conviction" is pure stupidity. It is more important to get THE RIGHT CONVICTION

  • Dr. Dataclerk Apr 3, 5:01 p.m.

    uncalumni02: Lets don't go there, OK. have a good day.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Apr 3, 4:57 p.m.

    Yes there are angels all around. They also just released one.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Apr 3, 4:47 p.m.

    Like I said- he was no saint before the murders.

    But he is a saint now. Look at all the attenton he is getting because after 15 years, he is free. You my friend is not free and must be jealous of this special man. :)

  • mugofstout2 Apr 3, 4:41 p.m.

    Yeah tab, and most folks who think like you treat the cops like dirt. When you are stopped, and know you are speeding, tailgating, whatever, you make it out to be the cops fault. "Oh, everyone is doing it, why me, snivel, whine, complain." But when a felon who is out of the pokey breaks into your house, you want the there>>NOW!!!>.

  • tab580642 Apr 3, 4:16 p.m.

    and some people have a problem with people like myself who question law enforcement. the fact is many people in law enforcement have a "God Mentality." Let me explain; some officers know that they have power over an individual and to those types of officer it feels oh so good to have the power to make or break a person. We see this all the time when cops pull us over. Some want you to treat them with an over-abundance of respect and beg them to give you a break. Well they won't get that from me. They get the same level of respect as they show me. If you find me in violation of something either give me a warning or give me my ticket and send me on my way. I refuse to reduce myself and give them the pleasure of seeing me begging them for a break because in their minds they are "God."

    I don't know why people find it hard to believe that cops can do dirty things that cost others tremendous loss & pain. I wonder what kind of justice will the officers in this case face?

  • mrkagain Apr 3, 3:35 p.m.

    No whining here, and I don't hang out with felons either. I just don't lke it when people take great pleasure in other people's misfortunes, even if they did have a hand in causing it. His one conviction aside, he was not a murderer, and hanging him for it makes a jerk out of the policemen who did it to him. Makes me think of the whited sepluchres that Jesus spoke of.

    OK, that's it, I'm out of here.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Apr 3, 3:34 p.m.

    Give the person life in prison without parole. The death penalty is final. In this case it would have been too late. But after 15 years this man free - is owed something and should sue.

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