Nick Yarris remains stoic, shining a light of kindness despite enduring 22 years on death row as an entirely innocent man.
Imagine the authorities throwing you onto death row for a crime you know you didn’t commit. And despite being innocent, you languish in solitary confinement for 22 years.
Horrifyingly, this is exactly what happened to 19-year-old Yarris after a drug-addled run in with a corrupt cop. Yarris had suffered an extremely troubled childhood which ultimately led to life as a petty car thief and drug addict. It only took one fateful interaction with a cop on a power trip to land the teen on death row.
In 1981, forensics testing was still very primitive, which made botched convictions sadly commonplace. When Yarris realized the cop was going to lie to set him up for jail, he made a desperate error that would almost ruin his entire life.
This cop was determined to frame Yarris. However, ironically, the flimsy charges he initially tried to lay onto him were ultimately thrown out of court. There was no evidence that he had had a violent run-in with the teen. But sadly, to get out of the weak charges, Yarris would tell the worst lie of his life.
The lie that would put an innocent man on death row
Desperate to get out of his situation, Yarris decided he would frame a dead man for the horrific murder of a woman called Linda Mae Craig. Yarris had recently read about the story in the newspaper. Unfortunately, this error in judgment went even sourer when the accused man he thought was dead, was not dead at all. As this man had an obvious alibi, the so-called justice system decided to accuse Yarris of the murder instead.
Corrupt police then organized a false witness, a fellow prisoner who was willing to lie to ease his sentence. The court promptly threw Yarris onto death row and into a living hell that would last 22 years of his life.
Who Yarris became, and who is now, is shockingly unexpected.
Especially for someone who you would assume would be full of bitterness and revenge for essentially being sent to hell as an innocent man. Since being released, and after recovering from the initial and inevitable damage of institutionalization, he now works as a motivational speaker. Yarris has even given a speech at the UN in front of Kofi Annan.
He has also authored books, the most famous being Fear of 13. This has been made into a chilling documentary and will soon be made into a major motion picture. His latest book, however, reveals the profound techniques he uses to lead a harmonious and good life, despite the injustice done to him. In The Kindness Approach, Yarris describes the process he took to live an unbelievably wonderful life.
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