Exonerated Man Gunned Down at Funeral

Christopher Williams spent nearly 3 decades behind bars, 25 of them on death row
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2022 1:21 AM CST
Exonerated Man Gunned Down at Funeral
Christopher Williams   (Philadelphia District Attorney's Office)

Christopher Williams spent a quarter-century on Pennsylvania's death row, wrongfully convicted of four murders, before being exonerated. He spent just 22 months free before he was fatally shot while attending a funeral Friday, NBC News reports. The 62-year-old was shot in the head at Philadelphia's Mount Peace Cemetery, and no arrests have yet been made. He had been driving in a funeral procession for another formerly incarcerated man and was shot just after exiting his car. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the murder "alarmed other exonerated men, who have long expressed fear for their safety after decades in prison."

As one man who was close friends with Williams and ended up his codefendant in a triple murder case for which they were both ultimately exonerated puts it, "Although we’re actually innocent, not everyone believes it." Williams advocated for other inmates he believed were wrongfully convicted, and often visited his former fellow prisoners who were still behind bars. He struggled financially as he fought for compensation from the city, and dreamed of starting a re-entry program to help others exiting prison. "He was a soldier, a trooper, a champion for justice,” says another recently exonerated man. “He was still learning how to give back. His life just began, and it was taken from him.” (Read more Philadelphia stories.)

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