A summer intern’s long shot letter was a turning point in John Edward Smith’s road to freedom.
The Los Angeles man was exonerated Monday after 19 years in prison for a gang murder he had always insisted he did not commit. Smith’s case was taken up in December 2009 by a start-up wrongful convictions group, Innocence Matters, staffed by student interns and volunteers.
One of those interns, Jessica Farris, a Drexel University law student, sent a letter to the lone witness to identify Smith as the killer, asking for a meeting to discuss the case.
Landu Mvuemba had been a 16-year-old high school student when he was injured in the 1993 drive-by shooting, but Farris’ letter reached him in a state prison where he was serving a long sentence for rape…