DNA frees Arizona inmate on D.Row

AICAP <deportee@...>

From: Katherine Norgard <k.norgard@...>
Date: Tue Apr 9 09:41:41 2002

Subject: Ray Krone, previously sentenced to death in Arizona walks
free after dna evidence frees him

Tuesday, April 10 2002, Arizona Republic

DNA frees Arizona inmate
10 years included
time on death row

By Dennis Wagner Beth
DeFalco, and Patricia

Ray Krone walked out
Arizona State Prison
Yuma on Monday,
freed by
DNA evidence after
10 years and facing
death penalty for a
he didn't commit.

During a phone call
moments before he
stepped into the
Arizona sunshine,
Krone's voice
quavered with
emotion. "There's tears in
my eyes," he
said. "Your heart's
beating. You can't
hardly talk."

Freedom came just
hours after Maricopa
Attorney Rick Romley
held a news
conference to
acknowledge that
Krone almost certainly
did not
sexually assault and
kill cocktail
waitress Kim Ancona
at a Phoenix lounge
in 1991.

Romley said new
evidence not only
vindicates Krone,
but points directly
at Kenneth Phillips,
36, who is
serving time in
Florence for an
unrelated sex crime.

Prosecutors are
investigating whether to
charge Phillips,
Romley said.

Romley and Phoenix
Police Chief Harold Hurtt
announced that they
would ask for
Krone's release
pending a hearing
next month to vacate
the murder
conviction. Both
officials stressed that
detectives and
prosecutors who won
Krone's conviction were
operating with
strong circumstantial
However, they said,
new DNA findings
make it clear
that they had the
wrong man.

"He (Krone) deserves
an apology from us,
that's for
sure," Romley said.
"A mistake was made
here. . . .
What do you say to
him? An injustice was
done and we
will try to do
better. And we're sorry."

Krone refused to
place blame for his
decade behind

"I'm not pointing
fingers. . . . Maybe
it was a mistake,
maybe incompetence,"
he said. But he
made it clear
that he felt
betrayed by the justice system.

Even after his first
conviction, Krone
said, he lived by a
mantra: "I didn't do
it, so how could
there be
evidence that I did?"

Krone was sentenced
to death, spending
two years
and eight months in
Cellblock 6 in
Florence, watching
other condemned
inmates taken away for

Krone maintained
hope when a second
trial was
granted but says he
gave up when, in his
mind, jurors
ignored overwhelming
evidence and
testimony in his
favor. When the life
sentence came down,
Krone said,
"that pretty much
ruled out all the
faith I had in truth
and justice."

Krone said he tried
to focus on being
strong for friends
and family who
supported him. He read
from his Bible
each night, and said
a prayer "for the
truth to come out
and, Lord, change
the hearts of my

Bite marks convincing

Once labeled the
"snaggletooth killer,"
Krone was
convicted largely on
particularly expert
testimony that bite
marks found on
the victim matched
his teeth.

No DNA evidence was
submitted in the
first trial, and
genetic tracing
results provided for the
second trial
merely failed to
preclude him as the

But all of that
changed after defense
attorney Alan
Simpson obtained a
court order, and
Phoenix police
produced new results.

On Monday,
prosecutor William Culbertson
Maricopa County
Superior Court Judge
Alfred Fenzel
that DNA found in
saliva on the victim's
tank top did not
come from Krone. In
fact, chances are
1.3 quadrillion
to one that it came
from Phillips, the
Florence prison

Culbertson said that
information was
bolstered by two

First, lab results
show that Phillips
has type O blood,
the same as that
found at the crime scene.

Second, a dental
expert said he "cannot
Phillips as the
person who left the bite
mark" on
Ancona's breast.

During a recent
interview with Simpson
at the Arizona
Department of
Corrections facility in
Florence, Phillips
purportedly admitted
seeing Ancona in
the men's room
at the CBS Lounge
the night she died. He
said he
needed to use the
restroom, but she told
him to leave
because she was
cleaning it. Ancona's
body was found
in the men's room
the next morning,
stabbed to death.

"Kim died a very
violent death," Simpson
noted after
Monday's hearing.
"In all the excitement
for my client,
we have to pause and
remember that a
young lady
didn't deserve to

Meanwhile, Fenzel
ruled that it would be
an injustice
to keep Krone in
custody any longer.

After ordering his
immediate release, he
set a
follow-up hearing
for 10:30 this
morning. Krone will
not be allowed to
leave the state and
cannot have any
contact with the
victim's family or any
witnesses until the
evidentiary hearing
April 29.

Looking for a good

Around 5 p.m.
Monday, Krone traded his
orange prison
jumpsuit for blue
jeans and a T-shirt,
then walked
away from the
Cheyenne Unit, a 30-man
dorm in the
Yuma prison.

He said he was
desperate for a good meal
after years
of prison food,
maybe seafood and a

John Ontiveros, an
assistant deputy
warden who also
knew Krone on death
row, said Krone signed
autographs for other
inmates and then made a
cellphone call to
his mother before
walking out the

He is the second
Arizona convict to be
exonerated by
DNA evidence, and
the first after facing

Before the murder,
he said, he viewed
punishment as
something for mass
murderers and
vicious criminals.

"They would have
executed me," he said.
"Could I
have any faith in it
anymore? Absolutely
not. I can't be
the only one. . . .
People need to
address this issue."

Earlier, Romley and
Hurtt defended the
death penalty.
"The system may not
be perfect, but it's
the best in the
world," Hurtt argued.

Parents celebrate

Krone's parents,
Carolyn and Jim Leming of
Pennsylvania, saved
his 1970 Corvette
for him. As soon
as they got word
Monday, the couple
started packing
for a long drive to

"We just have to
thank God that this
worked out
finally, and have to
thank all of our
friends and family
who have stood
behind Ray all these
years," Carolyn

She questioned why
her son was not released
immediately after
the DNA specimens
found on Ancona
were traced to
Phillips. But she gave
credit to Romley,
calling him "an
honest and fair person"
because he
was willing to

Leming predicted
that her son will get
on with life
immediately, adding,
"He won't let
bitterness or anger
or a woe-is-me
attitude keep him from

Katherine Norgard, Ph.D.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can
change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever
does." Margaret

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