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.

Submit your questions for each of our exonerees on our Facebook, via Twitter by using the hashtag #oneforten or by emailing them to info@oneforten. Next up is Delbert Tibbs, so get your questions in for him before Saturday.

Joe D'Ambrosio spent 22 years on Ohio's death row before being exonerated.

Joe D’Ambrosio spent 22 years on Ohio’s death row before being exonerated.

Here are Joe’s answers to your questions:

From Petra De Jong: Has the case in which he was wrongfully convicted been reopened? Does he hope the real killer will be caught? 

The sad thing is, the first thing that always has to be remembered is poor Anthony Klann. He’ll have no justice ever done for him. He was a 19-year-old kid that was brutally murdered and he’ll have no justice.

Because we know who did this. The evidence that they withheld from me points to other people, but they’ll never go after that person because by doing so, it shows they should have never came after me. So he’ll never have any justice, his family will never have any justice for that poor boy. And that’s the saddest thing about this. They took my life from me, but he lost his life in this. And he’ll have no justice because they will not go after the real murderer.

From Petra De Jong: How about his “co-defendants” who took a plea deal? Has he talked to them?

Well he [Ed Espinoza] took a deal and got 15 to 75 years. He was released after 12 years by recommendation from my trial judge, stating that if it was not for him he could have never convicted me. So he actually got out early after 12 years and then drank himself to death. I think [due to a] guilty conscience, for putting two men on death row that he knew didn’t do this for a crime that he committed. So he’s dead. So I never ran into him in prison because he was out in population, where I was on death row. Death row and population never mingle and he was in a whole different prison from where I was in. So we never talked.

From Kim Fitch: How has the experience changed him as a person?

The way that this has affected my future is in every aspect that you can think of. Everything.

From getting a job, getting a house, getting credit, trying to find somebody to spend the rest of my life with, every little minute aspect of my life has been altered by this. And not for the good. I’ll be running from this for the rest of my life and it will always chase me.

Because for one, the Internet. It’s always there, all you have to do is punch in my name and tons and tons of stuff comes up. Luckily for me it’s all good, but it’s still in the back of everybody’s mind. ‘Oh he must have done something or they wouldn’t have done it to him.’ When I had nothing whatsoever to do with it. But every aspect of my life is changed by this. I’m much older now. I have back problems, and stuff like that, I think from laying on all that concrete and steel all these years. Though the doctors can’t say that definitively. There’s just nothing that hasn’t been touched by this experience. And it’ll be there for the rest of my life and even after my life, it’ll go on forever because the computer goes on forever. The Internet goes on. So it’ll always be there. It’ll always haunt me. And there’s nothing I can do about it. 

From Andrea Dammig: 20 years at death row is a long and hard time. How could you survive this long without despairing completely? what helped you?

My faith in God and learning the law. Cause it consumed me. That’s mostly what I did from the time I got up to the time I went to sleep was read cases, review new rulings, try to come up with different arguments, going over transcripts, trying to come up with proper arguments… Cause I learned the law so well I was actually filing my own briefs, because my attorneys weren’t listening to me and they wouldn’t file the issues that I wanted. They just wanted to get me off death row. I had to stay on death row to have these appeals. So I would file the issues that would get me a retrial where they were just filing issues to get me off death row. So I threw myself into learning the law, plus my faith in God kept me strong.

From Anna Pizzey: What do you think you would have done with your life had you not been on death row for those 21 years? 

The possibilities are endless. I could have went to school. I was a mechanic, I could have went and got certified as a mechanic. I’d have a decent job, I’d be getting close to retirement. The possibilities are endless for what I could have done. But they took that from me too. Cause I’m too old now.

From Lisa Welsh Robbins: Can  you ask Joe what he missed the most about freedom? 

Camping, I love the woods, I love to camp. I was a sportsman. So being locked up in a cement cell for all that time when I’m used to walking in the woods, camping, sitting around a campfire talking with your buddies, I missed that so much.

Seeing the stars. I didn’t see the stars for 24 years because there’s never darkness in a prison. So to sit outside and see the stars at night was just amazing to me. To sit in a quiet room, it’s never quiet in prison… ever. So for 24 years, I heard nothing but noise. So I would actually sit in a room or sit outside in the dark and just look at the stars and just be amazed after all that time and missing them.

From Lisa Welsh Robbins: When he was released, what were some of the things that surprised him the most?

The computer is the main thing that surprised me the most. It still boggles my mind. Because everyone has had time, it’s been out for so long now… When Father Neil first showed me how to use the computer, he’s sitting there going ding ding ding ding ding, pushing all these buttons and click click click click and I’m sitting here going ‘whoa whoa whoa, you gotta stop! First things first, how do you turn the thing on?’ He’s like ‘oh, that’s right you haven’t a clue.’

And I said you have to treat me like I’m a 2 year old. Go very slowly; explain what you’re doing. You know, you turn your computer on, you don’t even think about it. You go doonk doonk doonk and then the screen pops up. You’re already on wherever you want to be. I didn’t understand any of it. I didn’t know what the first thing was when you turn it on. He was like, ‘oh that’s just an icon.’ Okay, you know what’s just an icon. I need to know what it is. There would be a thing where you sign in, and I was like ‘well what is that?’ And he’s just looking at me like, ‘this is going to take a long time.’ I was like, ‘yes, yes it is.’

One quick story: When I was in, I took every transcript, everything that was ever written in my case and I went through it to show the inconsistency of all the witnesses. We’re talking thousands and thousands of pages. It took me a year and a half to compile every inconsistency and every single witness in my case. We had everything programmed, punched into the computer. One day me and Neil were talking about a point that we need to look at, something about the creek. And I went okay, let me go grab my transcripts and I’ll show you exactly, I’ll dig it out. And he said ‘no no no, watch this.’

And he pulled up the program, he pulled up the search and punched in creek. And all of a sudden everything just read out. Every word, anywhere in any transcript and every statement and every police report, anywhere the word creek was, it was right there. I was like, do you understand it took me a year and a half to do something that it took you two seconds to do? It was just unbelievable to me. It’s like, a year and a half of my life I did this. And you did it in a few seconds with a few keystrokes and I was like, you’ve gotta be kidding me. It was just that simple.

From Gerald Garner: After losing part of his life to prison and being wrongfully convicted, did he feel any anger or desire for revenge? How does he deal with that?  

My revenge will come within the court system. I want their system to deem them wrong and have it that way. People keep asking me, ‘oh you must hate all cops.’ I don’t, I have the utmost respect for the police. Because you can’t judge a whole group of people by just a few. Not all cops did this, it’s only the handful that did this are the ones that are responsible. It’s hard to forgive when they’re still slapping you in the face. And by them still calling me a butcher and a murderer, it’s hard to sit there and forgive them when they’re doing it. Being a good Christian I should forgive, but it’s hard to forgive when they’re still slapping you in the face every day.

But I don’t hold animosity toward the police, or the prosecutors…well, prosecutors, you gotta watch them. But the system itself I think is one of the best systems in the world. The written word of the law is the best in the world, the problem is the people that are in it, the power hungry, the ones that are manipulating it the ones that are twisting it into something else is what’s wrong with our system. The law that is written is the best in the world it’s the ones that are enacting it is the ones that are corrupting it.

From Terri Hunt: What was it like getting out and re-entering the community? How are you treated by the community? Is difficult is it as far as how you are treated/perceived?

Not that many people around here are from back then [before I went to prison]. It’s a lifetime away. People have moved on, people are married. I really haven’t gotten in contact with that many people that are here, some people don’t even know that I am here. It’s not like I run into people all the time….

A lot of people don’t even know that I’m alive. Cause last they heard I was on death row, so they don’t even know that I’m alive. So around here there’s not that many people that are left from when I was here, they’ve all moved on. They‘ve got married, had families, moved away, bought houses someplace else. So there’s not that connection with my hometown. It’s more the familiarity with the streets, of the basic buildings that are still left from back when I was growing up is why I came back to this place. Because out of, you know, so many things are different, I wanted some feeling of familiarity, so even if it’ just the major streets, it’s more of a calming feeling for me.

Very few people around here that I know know that I’m here. There’s the few that have and are like, ‘good for you. How you gonna sue ’em?’ That’s the first thing out of their mouth. I’m in the process of it. But that won’t pay me back for taking my life. But most of them are just, they’re happy. They apologize and it’s like, you didn’t do it to me. But it’s just, they’re compelled to say that for some reason. But a lot of these people around here don’t know how I am. And I’m never here really that much anyhow cause I’m at work all the time or I have side jobs or I go and talk against the death penalty. So I’m here very little, but like I say, the few people that have, I’ve had, everyone is just like, ‘I hope you’re going after them for that.’ Until I explain to them that they [the prosecutors] have immunity and it’s hard, and back into the court system once again. So it seems like I’ll be in the court system for the rest of my life.