NOVEMBER 2, 2013 – Post updated with exact times and places for the events where Sabrina will speak. If other venues are developed we will update as necessary. Click on ‘continued’ to see complete schedule.
Sabrina Butler Porter heads up the next WITNESS TO INNOCENCE TOUR from November 18 – 26. Hers is the dramatic story of a young mother sent to Mississippi’s death row for the alleged murder of her infant son, Walter. Check the schedule below to see if she is coming to your community.
Sabrina was 17 years old when she found her infant son, Walter, had stopped breathing. She tried to revive him but by the time Walter reached the emergency room it was too late. The medics who served Walter found bruises and called the police. Those bruises led to Sabrina’s arrest the very next day.
Sabrina spent 33 months on death row in Mississippi for a murder that never happened. Her child died of medical causes. Sabrina did not testify during her trial. Mississippi prosecutors used this against her and told the jury there was more to the story and she refused to tell it. This misconduct on the part of the prosecutor was cited by the Mississippi Supreme Court in overturning her conviction:
The prosecution could hardly have made the point plainer if it had simply come out and said, “There is a lot more to tell, but Butler has not seen fit to get on the witness stand and tell you.”These comments were reversible error, so egregious in fact that even if there had been no objection at trial, we would nevertheless have been obligated to reverse. Livingston, 525 So.2d at 1305-08.
The National Registry of Exonerations website reports that following this reversal and the granting of a new trial the defense obtained a change of venue and the trial was moved to another county. Butler’s attorney, Clive Stafford Smith, presented testimony from neighbors who said Butler had attempted to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the baby, and so did one of the neighbors. A medical expert testified that the injuries could have been caused by those efforts to save the child.
Today, Sabrina is married with three children. She lives with her family in the same town where she was convicted.
Sabrina commits herself to end the death penalty and tours the country to let others know that the innocent are sentenced to death and a system this flawed must be abandoned.
The tour schedule is incomplete. As it is completed, information will be added and available at the ACLU of Kentucky website. Please check there frequently. Below is what is known at this time:
Monday, November 18
- Campbellsville University, Campbellsville
Administrator Building AD15
6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Tuesday, November 19
- Murray State Satellite Campus, Hopkinsville
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (Central Time)
- St. Catharine College, Springfield
Hamilton Health and Science Building
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Wednesday, November 20
- Union College, Barbourville
Patridge Campus Center, Patridge Conference Room
Noon – 2 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Thursday, November 21
- Morehead State University, Morehead
002 Breckenridge Hall
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Monday, November 25
- Georgetown College, Georgetown
The Ward Room in Ensor Learning Resource Center (Library)
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
- Bluegrass Community Technical College – Cooper Campus – Lexington
5: p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Photo: Courtesy murderpedia.org