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03rd Nov 2022

Man wrongly jailed for 30 years dies just months after being freed

Charlie Herbert

Claude Jarrett wrongly jailed for 30 years dies just months after being freed

‘It’s heartbreaking and deeply unfair’

A man who was wrongly jailed for three decades has died just months after being released.

Back in May, Claude Francis Garrett was finally freed after he was exonerated of murder and released from Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Tennessee, US.

The 65-year-old was wrongfully convicted in 1993 of killing his then 24-year-old girlfriend Lorie Lance in what was suggested to be an arson attack.

He was sentenced to life in prison, but always maintained his innocence. However, it wasn’t until almost 30 years later that the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office to decide to reinvestigate his case.

In May this year, the ‘evidence’ used to convict Garrett was dismissed as “junk science”, and his charges were overturned, meaning he could finally be released.

But he has sadly passed away just a few months later, news that confirmed by US criminal justice system journalist Liliana Segura.

In a Twitter thread posted earlier this week, she wrote: “There is no easy way to share this news. Claude Garrett died yesterday, less than 6 months after he was exonerated and released from prison.

“He appears to have died in his sleep. He was just short of his 66th birthday.”

Alongside a tweet she posted in September of their meetup four months after his exoneration, she added: “This is the last time I saw him.

“I don’t have words yet; it’s heartbreaking and deeply unfair. Claude spent 30 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. He fought so hard.

“He was patient, focused, and when the day finally came, careful not to exhale prematurely. Not until he knew the state wouldn’t appeal.”

She said that Claude “relished his freedom” and “enjoyed every moment with his daughter and grandson.”

Segura continued: “Claude had plans. He wanted the state to be held accountable for his wrongful conviction. He wanted compensation.

“It is unfathomable to me that the people most responsible for stealing so much of his life will never have to confront what they did, that they will outlive him.”

She finished by thanking “everyone who helped Claude win his freedom.”

“Rest in power, Claude Francis Garrett. I will miss you.”

Many voiced their sadness at the news of Claude’s passing and also their anger at the injustice of the situation.

“The unfairness of this world is hard to comprehend,” wrote one. “It is enraging.”

Another said: “I’m so sorry. This is heartbreaking. I followed Claude’s story for many years. Thank you for the work you did to help us remember him.”

A third added: “This is one of those moments where I feel life is so unfair I can barely stand it. May he be at peace and finding joy in the next phase of being.”

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