Sentenced to death in 1992, Ray Krone was the 100th prisoner in the US to be exonerated from death row. On World Day Against the Death Penalty (October 10) Ray will discuss his extraordinary story at Birmingham Law School.
On the morning of 29 December 1991, the body of Kim Ancona was found, dead, in the men’s restroom of the Arizona bar where she worked. After hearing that the victim had told a friend that a regular customer named Ray was to help her close up the bar, police asked Ray Krone to make a Styrofoam impression of his teeth for comparison.
On 31 December 1991, Ray was arrested and charged with murder, kidnapping and sexual assault.
At his trial, Ray maintained his innocence, claiming to be asleep in his bed at the time of the crime. Experts for the prosecution, however, testified that the bite-marks found on the victim’s body matched the impression that Ray had made on the Styrofoam and a jury convicted him on the counts of murder and kidnapping. He was sentenced to death. Ray won a new trial on appeal in 1996, but was convicted again, mainly on the state’s supposed expert bite-mark testimony. This time, however, the judge sentenced him to life in prison, citing doubts about whether or not he was the true killer. It was not until 2002, after Ray had served more than ten years in prison, that DNA testing would prove his innocence. DNA testing conducted on saliva and blood found on the victim matched Kenneth Phillips, a known sex-offender who lived a short distance from the bar where the victim worked. He had never been considered a suspect in her murder. On 8 April 2002, Ray was released from prison and on 24 April the District Attorney’s office filed to formally dismiss all charges against him.
Ray Krone was the 100th death row inmate freed since the reinstatement of capital punishment in the United States in 1976.
“So, now I’m speaking out for my friends, my family, for all the people who need me to tell my story. I was a Boy Scout, a postman…I was in the Air Force. If they could do it to me, they could do it to anyone.”