Friday, October 14, 2005

William Nieves' family needs our help

Dear friends,

When William Nieves was released from prison on October 23, 2000, after six years on death row for a crime he did not commit, Philadelphia County gave him a SEPTA token and a set of clothes. At 1 A.M.

In the five years between his release and his passing on October 8, William had ongoing health problems, problems stemming from his wrongful incarceration, during which he claimed he did not receive proper medical care. This lack of care is ultimately what killed him at the young age of 39. William also did not have health insurance, and his numerous doctor's visits and hospital stays created a tremendous financial burden on himself and his family.

And now his family has the additional costs of funeral and burial arrangements to say goodbye to their son, brother, and father who left us much too early.

Because death penalty abolitionists are so often such kind-hearted people, it was inevitable that we would get this question: How can we help? William's family has not asked us for help and, as far as we can tell, had every intention of finding some way to get through this financial burden.

However, after a few of us discussed it over the course of the last two days, we have created a way for you to help William's family. Central Pennsylvanians to Abolish the Death Penalty has created The Innocents Assistance Fund. To contribute, simply make a check payable to "Innocents Assistance Fund" and note in the memo "William Nieves memorial". Checks can be sent to:
Innocents Assistance Fund
c/o Central Pennsylvanians to Abolish the Death Penalty
315 Peffer Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102

All donations to the Innocents Assistance Fund are tax-deductible.

It is worth publicly noting those who helped to make this possible. Thank you to Karl Keys of New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, who is also a friend of the dp abolitionist movement in PA and who voiced the idea. Former PA Abolitionists staffers Jeff Garis and Kurt Rosenberg helped facilitate the process and find a way to get this done. And CPADP treasurer John Hargreaves assisted in the logistical aspects.

If you created a list of those who have played a key role in the abolitionist movement in Pennsylvania in the last five years, William would have to be on that list. His passion, his dedication, and his perseverance through a nightmare of an experience were qualities we all admired. We will miss him and will always remember him as we continue to strive toward the end of capital punishment in our great Commonwealth.

Andy Hoover
President, CPADP
Executive Director, PA Abolitionists

The Innocents Assistance Fund is a project of Central Pennsylvanians to Abolish the Death Penalty, a 501-c-3 tax-exempt organization. All donations to the Innocents Assistance Fund are tax-deductible. For more information on William's story, visit our website at


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