Sabrina Butler-Smith: The fight for freedom of the first woman ever exonerated from death row in the US

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Sabrina Butler-Smith: The fight for freedom of the first woman ever exonerated from death row in the US

Sabrina Butler-Smith: The fight for freedom

Sabrina Butler-Smith tells Rachel Sharp how she lost six-and-a-half years of her life in prison, was labeled a ‘child killer’ and was robbed of the chance to grieve for her nine-month-old son. Now, she is fighting to end the death penalty and to stop others being sent to death row – and executed – for crimes they didn’t commit.

By Rachel Sharp

Published 21 December 2021

2 July 1990. That was the day Sabrina Butler-Smith was told would be her last.

It was the day that the state of Mississippi had decided the 18-year-old should be put to death for the murder of her nine-month-old son.

Fast-forward 31 years and five months to December 2021 and Ms Butler-Smith, now 51, is thankful to be alive and enjoying family life with two of her children in Memphis, Tennessee, as the first woman ever to be exonerated from death row in America.

“I never thought my life would be turned upside down like it was,” she tells The Independent.

In total, Ms Butler-Smith lost six-and-a-half years of her life in prison, two years and nine months of them on death row, for a crime she didn’t commit.

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