DATE:  January 31, 2008
CONTACT: J. Don Luna 361.825.5988; or Cassandra Hinojosa 361.825.2337
Award-winning Play at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Tells the Story of Six Wrongfully Convicted Survivors of Death Row

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The University Theatre at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will present the “The Exonerated” Tuesday, Feb. 19, through Saturday, Feb. 23, and Sunday, Feb. 24, in the Wilson Theatre in the Center for the Arts. Performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The issue of the death penalty is generating heated debate across the nation due to numerous factors including poor lab work, suppression of evidence and exoneration of prisoners through DNA evidence produced years after their convictions.
Since 1973, more than 120 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence, according to the Death Penalty Information Center’s Staff Report, House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. Between 2000-2007, there has been an average of five exonerations per year. Texas leads the nation in the number of executions for capital crimes.

Culled from interviews, letters and transcripts, case files and the public record “The Exonerated” tells the true stories of six wrongfully convicted survivors of death row in their own words. Moving between first-person monologues and scenes set in courtrooms and prisons, the interwoven stories paint a picture of an American criminal justice system gone horribly wrong.
True life characters sharing stories of bravery and perseverance include Kerry, who spent 22 years on death row before being freed by DNA evidence, and David, who at age 18 was bullied into confessing to a robbery and murder he did not commit.

“The Exonerated” is the winner of the 2003 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards in New York. Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, the powerful, award-winning play is directed by J. Don Luna, chair of the University’s Department of Communication and Theatre.

“The cast and crew of ‘The Exonerated’ have been researching their roles for several weeks now,” Luna said. “We are working with Drs. Jarrell, Rhodes, and McClellan of the criminal justice program on campus to ensure accuracy and believability in our portrayal of the stories of these six people. Several of the cast members have been in conversation with the real life people whose stories are being told on stage at the Wilson Theatre.”

“The Exonerated” is for mature audience. Ticket prices are $8 for general admission, $7 for seniors and military, $5 for faculty and staff and $3 for students with SandDollar ID. For more information or to order tickets, call 361.825.5800.