Thirteen years ago, Innocence Project client Kennedy Brewer became the first person in Mississippi to be exonerated based on DNA evidence. In 1995, Mr. Brewer was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for the sexual assault and murder of a three-year-old girl in Noxubee County, Mississippi, largely because of discredited bitemark evidence. After 15 years in prison — seven of which were on death row — Mr. Brewer was finally exonerated on February 15, 2008. The DNA testing that excluded Mr. Brewer also identified the man who actually committed the crime.
To honor Mr. Brewer and celebrate his exoneration, the Innocence Project commissioned award-winning photographer Isabelle Armand to document his daily life. With those stunning images, we’ve created an audio slideshow in which Mr. Brewer shares firsthand the great joy he experiences being free, whether it is spending time at the local hangout — the carwash — in his rural hometown of Brooksville, Mississippi, or being surrounded by his large and close-knit family with whom he has a deep and emotional connection.
He also speaks candidly about all that will never be regained, most notably the years of lost time with his son and daughter, who were just babies when he was sent to death row. Mr. Brewer reflects on the personal hardship he’s experienced as he’s endeavored to rebuild his life post-exoneration after years of lost opportunity. He also questions why there isn’t greater accountability for prosecutors and supposed expert witnesses, such as those in his case, who mislead juries to wrongfully convict innocent people.
Join us in celebrating Mr. Brewer by watching this moving video of Kennedy in his hometown. To learn more about his wrongful conviction, watch three episodes of the Netflix docuseries The Innocence Files on Netflix, which tells the compelling story of Mr. Brewer’s case.