Exoneree Darryl Burton - Prison and Life After
After spending 24 years in the Missouri State Penitentiary for a crime he did not commit, Darryl Burton now shares his story with the world and motivates rising legal representatives to take action in defending truth. Burton was charged for murder and faced jail for life after some influential evidence was withheld from the jury. Burton came to the BYU Law School to share his experiences with the students and faculty.
The Missouri State Penitentiary is a prison that Time Magazine categorized as, “the bloodiest 47 acres west of the Mississippi.” Burton described his stay in the penitentiary, sharing a few specific experiences.
“These are stories you never hear about,” Burton said. “When you’re out here, you’re detached, you’re removed from that environment and you should be, but some of your clients, that’s where they’ll have to live, that’s where they’ll have to survive.”
After several years of incarceration, Burton started studying the law and his specific case to see what he could do to prove his innocence. After six years, Burton found an organization that was committed to helping innocent convicts get released. He had to wait another 18 years for them to take his case.
While waiting to be exonerated, Burton found God and was converted to Christianity in 1998. He decidedhe would devote his life to God if He would help him get out of prison. He prayed for his enemies as instructed by the Bible, and his hatred melted away. “The forgiveness wasn’t for them, it was for me,” Burton said.
After the entire experience was over and Burton re-entered society, he kept his promise to God and began studying theology. Now he incorporates his religious beliefs in all aspects of his life and it helps him motivate others through his story. He is grateful for his conversion to Christianity and states “I’m not bitter, I’m better.”
As a motivational speaker, Burton will continue to inspire rising legal practitioners and educators around the world with his unique story. First-year law student, Danel Vincent especially felt the power and influence of Burton's experience. "I am really glad I listened to Mr. Burton," Vincent said. "As a student with interest in becoming a criminal prosecutor, Mr. Burton's story opened my eyes to needed improvements in the criminal justice system."
Posted:December 04, 2012