As I was getting ready for work today I walked out of the bathroom to hear Paul House’s name on the Channel 4 News. I ran to the screen only to catch a segway into the next news brief. Shrugging it off, I figured it was a quick update to the June 1 retrial or another trial extension request, as it’s happened twice before. I figured I could check the story online when I made it into the office.
Much to my surprise, as I walked in the door of TCASK this morning, Joyce House was calling on our phone. “We have good news today,” she said. “Paul’s been exonterated! We talked for a moment of the relief and joy that the House family is feeling today after 23 years of frustration and fighting for Paul’s life.
After what has seemed like months or years of testing of the DNA evidence preserved from the 1985 rape and murder of Carolyn Muncey, District Attorney Paul Phillips finally requested for the murder charges held against Paul House to be dropped. Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood accepted such request and now, after 22 years on death row, Paul House is free.
Paul House joins the ranks of over 130 men who have been released from death row after evidence of their wrongful convictions have emerged (often DNA evidence). This long battle over the guilt or innocence of Paul is a perfect example of the millions of dollars that are fueled into our death penalty system, often with a final result being the reversal of sentencing and also the risk of condemning and killing an innocent man.
We rejoice with the House family as they feel some relief from this long struggle but also acknowledge and share our greivance with the Muncey family as their loved one’s case now has become unsolved.
Check out some of the news coverage on this story:
Tennessean Article: State drops charge against former Death Row inmate Paul House
Knox News Article: Prosecutor drops murder charges against ex-death-row inmate House
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