For each of our exoneree interviews, we’re taking your questions that you want us to ask, and the answers will be able to be viewed in the online archive, which will contain the interviews in their entirety. However, we thought you might like to see the answers sooner than that, so we’re publishing them here on our blog after each one.

Our next and final interview is with Juan Melendez, who spent 17 years, eight months, and one day on Florida’s death row for a crime he did not commit, before being exonerated in 2002. Have a look at his story here and then submit your questions by Tuesday. You can submit your questions on our Facebook, via Twitter by using the hashtag #oneforten or by emailing them to info@oneforten.

clarencecropHere are Clarence’s answers to your questions:

From Jasmine Pilloni:  Even if in your situation it didn’t really help, what do you think about witnesses that, like in your case, decide to talk of what they know/have seen such a long time after the trial? Could it be fear or just unawareness of the possible consequences of their silence?

I think it’s not only fear. I think that they just don’t want to get involved. That’s the bottom line. They just don’t want to get involved until it’s their loved one or someone they know.

Oh yeah, there’s lots of pressure. Keep em quiet.


From Katherine Lockton:  I want to know how he feels towards the people that convicted him because of his race?

If anyone who has been mistreated or done wrong is not angry, there’s something wrong with them. So quite naturally I was angry, but I’ve moved on past that. Because see, worrying and grieving over that, it will destroy an individual. It will make you do something. So hate aint going to change anything and I can’t get that time back that I’ve lost. So I realize I got to move on forward with my life.


From Petra De Jong:  He never got any compensation up to date. Does he have hope that he ever will?

As of today I have never received any compensation and matter of fact when I first came home, they had me charged with 56 thousand dollars back child support and still to this day they still want me to pay back child support. Hopefully one day I will receive compensation. I’m hopeful for that.


From Ben Preston: Did you ever have periods during all those years where you were sure you would never escape?

No, that was what kept me going. Hope. Support from people I never even met, people writing letters, giving me encouragement, telling me to continue to keep the faith and believe that one day somebody was going to look at the case and do the right thing. That’s what kept me going.