Virginia Must Prevent Wrongful Executions

February 2, 2021

Earl Washington Jr. came within eight days of being executed in Virginia for a crime he didn’t commit. He spent 16 years on death row before being exonerated. He was just 22 years old, with an IQ of 69 (equivalent to a 9- or 10-year-old), when he was ripped from his home and his family and sentenced to die. Eventually, DNA testing would lead to his exoneration, but not before robbing him of a decade and a half of his life — a life that was nearly extinguished altogether. His story, as shocking as it is, is unfortunately not that unusual.