15 to life and innocent: Help Free Steven Knowles

15 to life and innocent: Help Free Steven Knowles

January 2, 2022
Petition to
Governor's office Mike DeWine and 2 others
Signatures: 87Next Goal: 100
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Why this petition matters

Started by Steven Knowles

When Steven Knowles was 19-years-old, he was convicted of a murder he says he did not commit. Since then he has done 25 years on a sentence of 15 years to life. I need your help to return him to society, but most importantly his family

Steven has lived in the Ohio penal system for almost 25 years, and has experienced the most egregious of inhumane treatment. He has been beaten by officers, had his security level raised illegally upon being put through other variations of mental anguish.

Every minute we wait to take action, Steven is suffering. Every second that goes by Steven is likely to die in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. 

At the time of the crime for which he was convicted, Steven was a 19-year-old Christian with a promising future in art. He was attending church daily with his then Pastor ( Reverend Hall ). It is clear that Steven's lawyer did not adequately defend him, and that explicit racial and economic bias played a significant role in the process. For example:

The only eyewitness was Mr. Knowles' co-defendant who at the time could not read or write and therefore could not know what the statement he was signing said. He admitted that he was the person that had the altercation with the victim, that it was his gun used in the murder, and he was the person who had given the gun to the police, after he stated that him and Steven had ran two different ways after the crime. If the gun would have been in Steven's hand, there would have been no way for him to have possessed the gun.

During Mr. Knowles' initial arrest he was denied visitation from his lawyer, beaten by the officers and burned with cigarettes in an attempt to force a false confession. Eye witnesses said they could here his screams of agony throughout the station. He was denied food, placed away from the other prisoners in a dirty part of the police station to keep his abuse hidden. The pastor couldn't be denied access to Steven and reported the condition of Stevens inhumane living arrangement and his poor physical condition. It wasn't until then that Steven was allowed to get medical treatment. When Steven continued to deny any involvement, the police falsified documents stating that he confessed to the crime. Steven was dyslexic at the time with a low IQ of 83. His comprehension level was that of a child half his age.

His co-defendant after admitting to being involved in the crime was freed after testifying against Steven. He was heard bragging that he “set Steven up.” Mr. Knowles' co-defendant's statement did not match up with the coerced statement of his bestfriend and therefore his statement was removed.

Stevens lawyer did not want to continue to rightfully fight for Steven's justice when Steven's mother could no longer fund him. He told them that if Steven did not take a plea, he would make sure that Steven got the death penalty. Steven asked the judge to allow him to die his counsel and the judge denied him.

In the Courtroom Steven was asked if he had been threatened and Steven replied that he had. He told the judge on court record, "  I was promised 15 years flat, no life no extra nothing... No nothing." This discrepancy was never cleared up. Also during the whole proceeding Steven maintained his innocence.

Steven's support system consists of his elderly mom, aunt and cousin who all have stage for cancer. His mothers only wish is to sit at a table and have dinner with him. Let's collectively join together to make her dream a reality.

Steven reached out to me and told me a very compelling story accompanied with hard facts. As a person of color and a person of faith, I knew that I couldn’t stand by while an innocent man Sat in prison without a glimpse of hope. I am an Ohio taxpayer and the idea that my money will be used to falsely condemn men makes me sick. 

Every day an innocent man is forced to sit in prison confinement hopeless

Recently, a grassroots movement successfully pressured New York to release the New York 5, another 5 black men sentenced to life for a crime they says they didn’t commit. If we can save the New York 5, then Steven has a chance.

Please join me and demand justice for Steven.
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