Freddie Lee Pitts

Freddie Lee PittsState of Conviction: Florida

Race: African American

Wrongful Conviction: Murder

Exonerated Date: 1975

Years Served: 12

Freddie Lee Pitts and Wilbert Lee, both African-American, were convicted and sentenced to death for the 1963 murder of two white gas station attendants in Florida, despite a complete lack of physical evidence. Prosecutors used confessions that were extracted through torture, testimony of a suspicious eyewitness, and polygraph tests taken under extreme duress. A few weeks after Freddie and Wilbert were sentenced to death, a white man sentenced to life for another homicide admitted to the killings. Despite learning of this confession, the local sheriff ignored it. A polygraph examiner who had heard the white man confess took the matter to the press, and soon a new trial was ordered. But astonishingly, Freddie and Wilbert were again convicted. After the second conviction, the alleged eyewitness recanted her testimony, and the state Attorney General admitted that the State had unlawfully suppressed evidence.

Source: Witness to Innocence

Read more about Freddie’s story here.