Woman Who Became Attorney to Prove Brother Innocent of Murder to Speak at OCU LAW April 10
March 30, 2011
Betty Anne Waters, who spent 18 years on a remarkable journey to prove her brother innocent of a murder for which he had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison, will recount her story at a public event April 10 at OCU LAW.
“A Conversation with Betty Anne Waters” will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10, at the Homsey Family Moot Courtroom. OCU LAW Dean Lawrence K. Hellman will interview Waters at the forum, which is free and open to the public.
Waters will be in Oklahoma City as a special guest of OCU LAW for “A Night for the Innocent,” an April 9 gala for the Oklahoma Innocence Clinic. Slated to launch in the fall of 2011, the Clinic will bring together select law students, attorneys and the clinic’s newly named director to identify and help remedy cases of wrongful conviction. Only cases in which there is credible evidence of actual innocence will be pursued.
Wrongful convictions are all too familiar to Waters. In 1983, a Massachusetts court sentenced her brother, Kenneth Waters, to life in prison for the 1980 murder of Katharina Brow. The victim had been stabbed more than 30 times in her home.
Waters never wavered in her belief that her brother was innocent. Although Betty Anne had dropped out of high school, she went on to receive her GED, put herself through college and earned a law degree – all to become an attorney in hopes of helping to exonerate Kenneth.
She eventually enlisted the aid of the Innocence Project, a New York-based entity that pursues cases in which DNA evidence can prove an inmate’s innocence. Betty Anne’s tenacity led to the uncovering of a long-forgotten box of evidence that proved Kenneth’s innocence. He was released from prison in 2001.
The story was dramatized in the 2010 motion picture, Conviction, with Oscar winner Hilary Swank as Betty Anne and Sam Rockwell as Kenneth.
Waters still does work with the Innocence Project in addition to her job as general manager of a pub in Bristol, R.I.
“A Night for the Innocent,” underwritten by presenting sponsor Chesapeake Energy Corp. and others, will be held Saturday, April 9, at the Skirvin Hilton in downtown Oklahoma City. Champion-level sponsors include: Lawrence and Gay Hellman, Bill and Sherry Conger, Dr. R. Cullen and Bonnie Thomas, Heritage Solutions and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Honorary co-chairs for the evening are Barry and Becky Switzer and Jeanne Hoffman Smith.
Oklahoma is one of only a handful of states in the nation still without a standing organization to evaluate post-conviction claims of innocence. There have been hundreds of exonerations throughout the United States, including eighteen in Oklahoma.
Earlier this week, OCU LAW announced that the Oklahoma Innocence Clinic’s director will be Tiffany Murphy, who is currently legal director and interim executive director of the Midwestern Innocence Project (MIP) in Kansas City.