I spent 17 years, 8 months and 1 day on death row, and the most important person who believed that I was innocent and had faith that justice would prevail was my mom, Andrea Colon. You see, I was wrongfully convicted of armed robbery and the murder of Delbert “Mr. Del” Baker on Sept. 13, 1983. As I sat in prison waiting to be executed for a crime I didn’t commit, I felt like the only people I could count on were my fellow prison-mates, my lawyers who were fighting for my life, and my mom. After 6,446 days on death row, my lawyer uncovered evidence implicating the real killer, Vernon James, and I was freed.
I will never forget the day after I had been released from death row when I saw my mother in our home with tears streaming down her face. I said “Mama, what’s wrong?” She said, “Son I was just remembering how during all those years that you were on death row, I was saving money to bring back your body to Puerto Rico, if Florida had executed you.” At that moment, I realized just how much she had suffered. And no mother in this world should have to go through that pain!
Mother’s Day takes on new meaning for me. Thanks to the work of organizations like the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, of which I proudly serve on the Board of Directors, we are working to end the death penalty state by state, so no mother would have to suffer like mine did.
Donate now to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty to ensure no individual is taken away from their family the way I was and to ensure that we have the resources to keep up the fight to end the death penalty nationwide>.
I now get to spend Mother’s Day with my mom. Let’s make sure everybody has that same opportunity.
Happy Mother’s Day!
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty