Adam Randall died in obscurity at Washington Court House, Ohio, in October, after serving 12 years in prison for the murder of a Dallas police officer. His conviction was overturned primarily owing to evidence unearthed by a filmmaker. At the time, he was 61 years old.
According to his lawyer, Randy Schaffer, Mr. Adams chose to live a calm life away from his past, and his death from a brain tumor on Oct. 30, 2010, was barely publicized locally. On Oct. 29, the death was made public for the first time.
‘The Thin Blue Line,’ directed by Errol Morris and released in 1988, was a watershed moment in Mr. Adams’ career. It revealed a dreadful story and played a key role in Mr. Adams’ release the next year.
‘We’re not talking about a police killer who gets free on a technicality,’ Mr. Morris said after Mr. Adams was released. ‘We’re dealing with a supernatural horror.’ The story began on November 27, 1976. Mr. Adams was walking down Dallas street after his car ran out of gas when he was approached by David Ray Harris, a teenager in a stolen car, who offered him a ride. They spent the day at a drive-in theatre drinking, smoking weed, and watching movies.
While stopping a car for a traffic infraction, Dallas police officer Robert Wood was shot and killed shortly after midnight. Mr. Harris was the focus of the investigation, and he accused Mr. Adams of murder. In 1977, Mr. Adams was found guilty after other witnesses corroborated his testimony.
Mr. Adams appealed his lethal injection execution sentence, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to overturn it. He was scheduled to be executed on May 8, 1979. Three days before the execution, the United States Supreme Court issued a stay, noting the rejection of potential jurors who were opposed to the death penalty during jury selection, despite their unambiguous affirmations that they would respect Texas law.
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