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.

Randy Steidl spent 12 years on death row in Illinois for a crime he didn't commit.

Here are Randy’s answers to your questions:

From Andrea Dammig: You are almost 9 years free. What do you think after such this time is the most important thing you´ve done to forget this nightmare? Have you made a therapy or something like this ? What did you do to cope with your traumatic experiences ? 

Well one thing is, you never forget. But when I first got out in May 2004, I spent a week at my mother’s house and I went to Springfield, Missouri with an old girlfriend and I spent 4 years there. I started framing houses, doing construction work at age 53 for 7 dollars an hour. I had an old 76 Chevy truck that I still have out there. I worked on it, got it running. I realise I couldn’t climb as good as I once did so I went to a careers center. I was honest with them, I told them where I’ve been, what I’ve done, I showed them newspaper clippings and I got a job in a printing company. I started out at 9 dollars an hour with benefits and worked my way up to an operator on a printing press making 16 bucks an hour, worked 12 hour days. I went to therapy for 2 years, a forensic psychologist, and in July 2006 I got involved with Witness to Innocence. I went back and told my psychologist what I’m doing and he told me ‘you don’t need to come see me any  more Randy, you need to keep doing what you’re doing with WTI.’

So it actually saves me 100 dollars an hour from sitting on his couch to do what I do. But you never forget this, you never forget this. It’s deep inside my heart, it’s deep inside my mind. I try not to dwell on it on a daily basis but as I said, there’s always something that brings it to the forefront. WTI is different for me, I can compartmentalize what we do and why we do it, as difficult as it is, but we know we’re having an effect on the death penalty in this country. It’s been proven by the last 5 states that have abolished it, states that we’ve worked in. So it’s a bit rewarding for me to know that I’m doing something that has an effect, that might save somebody who’s innocent from being executed someday.

From Jeff: How can I help? What can be done to help exonerees?

I think reach out, emails, phone calls, letters of encouragement. Give them guidance, where to find employment, mental health services. It’s not something that’s offered to us. It’s offered to actual guilty people who get paroled. I walked out with 26 dollars, 30 cents in my pocket and they said good luck. Each and every one of these exoneree’s have PTSD, they do in varying degrees, they have PTSD. And I’m not ashamed to admit it, because every one of us has issues you know. A lot of us are alcoholic, a lot of us are drug addicts, some end up back in prison who don’t have a support system once they get out. I was fortunate, I had a good family who supported me all those years. A lot of these guys are sleeping under bridges, they have nothing and the state refuses to help them because if they help them it makes them liable. And if they become liable then there’s a civil suit and tryng to get exonerated through pardons and trying to get job placement, housing, clothes on your back. Everything that they took away from you 20 years earlier, they refuse to help you get back. That’s what the public has to realise with these exonerees. Some legislators like to say, well 142, they’re not all actually innocent. A lot of prosecutors and public officials will actually say that. After you fought for your life to get off death row, to get out of prison, and then to finally be free and they still want to leave that cloud over your head by refusing to pardon you or refusing to give you a certificate of innocence.

From Terry: What were your views on the death penalty before your arrest, and did they change after? And what are your thoughts on the death penalty for the guilty? 

Well, I came from a conservative farm community you know. I was born and raise Catholic, had a granddad that was a deputy sheriff, my brother is 33 and a half years on the Illinois State Police. We believed in the death penalty. I was naïve. You turn on the tv, you see somebody being handcuffed, chained up, hauled in and out of the court room, hell, they look guilty to me. Charged with a viscious crime, but I was naïve and so was my family and so was a lot of people from my own town. They believed and had that blind faith in the system that police don’t lie, prosecutors don’t fabricate evidence. And that’s why it’s a human factor, even if prosecutors do everything above board, there’s still the human factor: that humans make mistakes…They’re humans. Even if you try and do a good job, you’re a human, humans make mistakes. So why they believe that the judicial system is so airtight with errors that nothing can ever happen. Once a jury convicts you, you’re guilty, that’s it, that’s all they want to hear.