Our Stories

During our Healing Justice Retreats, participants share their experiences and unpack their losses and grief through a variety of activities. One activity is an expressive arts project, through which they illustrate both the trauma they suffered and their journey to healing. These beautiful photographs capture art made by crime victims and survivors, the exonerated, and family members of both.

These photos are part of our Voices Restored campaign, which includes a traveling photography exhibit that is currently on tour. Please be in touch if you would like to host the exhibit in your city.  

Photographs by Magali DeVulpillieres

 
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Lorinda + Norma

Lorinda Swain (right) and Norma Johnson (left), Exoneree and Exoneree Family Member, Michigan

Lorinda was convicted of child abuse based on a false claim. She spent 7 years wrongly imprisoned, then it took another 7 years for her to be fully exonerated. Norma is Lorinda’s sister and remains one of her biggest supporters. Norma describes how she and her family could not be free either while Lorinda was in prison.

 
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Chris Ochoa

Exoneree, Texas

Chris was wrongly convicted of murder and rape and sentenced to life in prison when he was 22-years old. His conviction and sentence were due in part to a false confession he was persuaded to give in order to avoid the death penalty. Chris spent 13 years in prison before being exonerated and freed by DNA evidence. The same DNA evidence identified the true perpetrator, who had gone on to commit additional violent crimes before being apprehended and imprisoned.

 
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Christy Sheppard

Victim Family Member, Oklahoma

Christy is a family member of Debra Sue Carter, who was raped and murdered when she was 21. A main prosecution witness testified that two local men were responsible. More than a decade later, DNA testing proved that both men were innocent, and that the actual perpetrator was the witness who had accused them. Christy and her family were the last to learn about the DNA testing and exonerations and describe the immense confusion, fear, and grief they experienced upon learning that the originally convicted men were being released and the actual perpetrator had been free all along.

Christy has described how an exoneration, while a dream come true for innocent prisoners and their families, is the beginning of a nightmare for the original crime victims and their families.

 
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Loretta White

Crime Survivor, Indiana

Loretta was only 15 years old when she was brutally attacked and raped while walking to school. She barely survived the attack but did her best to help police apprehend the perpetrator. 14 years later, DNA tests led to the exoneration of the man who had been convicted, leaving Loretta emotionally reeling and facing many years of trying to recover not just from the original crime but from the conviction being undone. The attack is now considered a cold case, and Loretta struggles to understand how the criminal justice system failed her so badly.

 
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Krissy + Kim

Krissy Griggs Zarn (left) and Kim Griggs (right), Victim and Exoneree Family Members, Oklahoma

Kim and Krissy Wilhoit are the daughters of Gregory Wilhoit, who was wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, their mother. Greg was sentenced to death and spent 6 years on death row before being exonerated. He passed away in 2014, not long after being freed. Kim and Krissy are two of many who have survived the double tragedy of a murder and wrongful conviction in the same family.

 
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Garnetta Anderson Bishop

Exoneree Family Member, Virginia

Garnetta is the sister of Marvin Anderson, who was convicted of sexual assault, robbery, and kidnapping and sentenced to life in prison. Marvin was exonerated after serving 15 years in prison and 4 more years on parole. He went on to fulfill his dream of being a firefighter and is now chief of the Hanover County Fire Department. Garnetta describes how, as a young teenager, she had to grow up quickly in order to take care of the household and family while her mother focused on freeing her innocent brother.

 
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Rosie + Niko

Rosie Mcintyre (right) and Niko Quinn (left), Exoneree Family Member and Victim Family Member, Kansas

Rosie’s 17-year-old son, Lamonte Mcintyre, was convicted of a double murder in 1994 and sentenced to life in prison. Lamonte returned home at 40-years old after being exonerated in 2017. Rosie worked hard to free her son, including often dressing as a man to go out at night to investigate the case. Niko’s cousin, Doniel Quinn, was one of two murder victims in the case. Niko testified against Lamonte and later reached out to Rosie to explain that she had been wrong. She and Rosie became friends and fought together to free Lamonte. Their story of reconciliation embodies the spirit of Healing Justice.

 
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Malcolm Alexander

Exoneree, Louisiana

Malcolm was charged and convicted of a brutal rape that occurred in 1979 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole in Angola State Penitentiary. It took 39 years for Malcolm to be exonerated and return home to his grown children. Six months after he was freed, he was reunited with his dog, Innocence, whom he had raised as a puppy while incarcerated. In his mask, Malcolm illustrates the strong “face” he wore on the outside to mask the feelings of hopelessness and grief he felt inside.

 
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Andrea Harrison

Victim Family Member, New Jersey

Andrea is the daughter of Jacqueline Harrison, who was brutally tortured, raped, killed and left on a dirt road. Almost two decades later, the man convicted was exonerated and released, leaving the crime a “cold” case and leaving Andrea and her family feeling devastated and abandoned by the justice system. Andrea describes how she has now become the voice for justice for her mother, who was rendered voiceless by her attacker when he crushed her voice box before murdering her.

 
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Thomas Webb

Exoneree, Oklahoma

Thomas was convicted of sexual assault, sentenced to 60 years in prison, and exonerated after spending 14 years wrongly imprisoned. Since being freed Thomas has befriended the crime survivor in his case as well as reunited with his family after being separated from them for many years. The DNA evidence that proved Thomas’s innocence also identified the actual perpetrator. However, the perpetrator remains free to this day due to a law that prevents him from being held accountable.

 
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Sylvia Barnes

Exoneree Family Member, New York

Sylvia is the mother of Steven Barnes, who was convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Steve was finally exonerated after serving 20 years. During those 20 years, Sylvia put her life on hold and worked tirelessly to free her son. While attending her first Healing Justice Retreat, Sylvia was able to let go of a lot of the pain and trauma and made the decision to move forward in her life, including finally getting married to her long-time boyfriend, John. At her second retreat, Sylvia created this beautiful and moving art project that reflected her life before and after participating in a retreat.

 
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Debbie Jones

Crime Survivor, Texas

Debbie is a rape survivor who was brutally assaulted when she returned home to her apartment in 1985. She learned 23 years later that the person who she was led to believe had raped her was actually innocent. Since then, she has met with the exoneree in her case, and both remain supportive of one another. The actual perpetrator, identified through DNA testing, was unable to be prosecuted because the legal deadline for prosecuting him had passed.

 
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Dwayne Jones

Victim Family Member, New Jersey

Dwayne and Jacqueline Harrison were parents of two young daughters when Jacqueline was brutally tortured, raped, and murdered. 19 years later, the man who was convicted of the murder was exonerated and released, causing profound confusion and trauma to Dwayne and the rest of the family. The murder is now considered “cold” and the family feels abandoned and forgotten by the justice system.

 
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Tomeshia Artis

Crime Survivor, North Carolina

When she was 12 years old, a stranger broke into Tomeshia’s home and assaulted her while she was asleep in her bedroom. Though only a child, Tomeshia did her best to assist police with apprehending the assailant. A man was charged and convicted of the crime but 17 years later DNA testing led to his exoneration and identification of the actual perpetrator. While the true perpetrator was ultimately identified and convicted, the exoneration process caused Tomeshia to feel re-victimized and re-traumatized and forced to begin the healing process all over again.

 
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Jennifer Thompson

Crime Survivor, North Carolina

Jennifer is a rape survivor whose case resulted in a wrongful conviction. More than a decade later, DNA testing led to an exoneration and identification of the actual rapist, who had gone on to commit an additional 6 rapes before being apprehended. Jennifer often describes the exoneration as a “black hole” that, in many ways, was harder to survive than the original crime due to the confusion, grief, and trauma it caused.

 
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Lamar + Kathy

Lamar Johnson and Kathy Johnson, Exoneree and Exoneree Family Member, Maryland

Lamar was 20 years old when he was arrested and convicted of first-degree murder. He was finally freed 13 years later in 2017, after both the murder victim's mother and the prosecutor in the case advocated for his exoneration. Kathy, Lamar’s mother, knew her son was innocent and never gave up hope that one day he would come home. She worked tirelessly, together with the murder victim's mother, to free Lamar. Despite maintaining hope for the 13 years Lamar was in prison, Kathy talks openly about the pain and loss she suffered having a child incarcerated for a crime he did not commit.

 
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Penny Beerntsen

Crime Survivor, Wisconsin

Penny barely survived a brutal attack while she was running on a beach. The attacker left her for dead, and she was found by her young son. While still recovering, she was asked to help police identify the attacker. Police had already focused on the man they believed responsible. 18 years later, that man who was originally convicted sought DNA testing, which led to his exoneration. Penny had little notification or awareness of what was going on during the appeals process and only heard of developments through the news media.