International wrongful conviction day rally in Jefferson City

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JEFFERSON CITY- Monday is the second annual international wrongful conviction day, and Missouri residents will rally together in bright orange T-shirts on the south lawn outside the capitol building.

"We're going to be pretty much protesting and talking about all the people that are wrongfully convicted, it could happen to anybody and people don't realize that until it actually hits them,” said Donna Ewing, rally participant and Jefferson City resident.

The rally aims to bring awareness to people who have been wrongfully convicted. 

“I’ve met a lot of people that their families have been torn a part because they've got someone whose been wrongfully convicted while the real perpetrator is out there,” Donna Ewing said, “Patience is one thing I've learned the most out of all of this.”

The group Justice Not Politics put together the rally and hopes for about 100 people to attend.

Obie Anthony was wrongfully convicted of a murder in California and is the guest speaker for this event. Anthony was in jail for 17 years.

The National Registry of Exonerations recorded 166 exonerations in 2016.

The previous record was 160 in 2015.

In total, there have been about 2000 exoneration cases in the US since 1989.

Donna Ewing said her husband Reggie Ewing has been incarcerated for 21 years with a 100-year sentence on an assault charge. She believes her husband has been wrongfully convicted. 

Ewing said she visits her husband 10 times a month, but the hardest part is "not knowing when he can finally walk out of those doors, if he’ll be able to walk out of those doors."

"It is so much easier to convict an innocent person than it is to prove that someone is innocent, after they've been proven guilty by the court standards,” Donna said. 

"Unfortunately, law-abiding citizens think it can’t happen to them; that it only happens to those living on the fringe of society. However, it can and has happened to people from all walks of life. And it could happen to you…you are not immune,” said Liz Franklin, who represents the Innocence Project.

“He’s been gone for so long, he hasn’t been able to raise any of his kids. We’ve got grandkids and he’s not even a part of their lives, without just calling them,” Donna said. “We’re the voice for those wrongfully convicted because they don't have one being locked away. It’s hard to walk out of those doors knowing that he has to stay there with real criminals.”

Donna and Reggie have a 24-year-old daughter who just turned 3 when he was convicted.