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LARRY MAYES: Served 18.5 years of an 80-year sentence
In October 1980, two assailants entered a gas station in Hammond, Indiana, threatened the clerk with a gun, demanded money, and then forced her to leave with them. The victim was beaten with the gun and raped by both assailants before being released. The victim identified Mayes as one of the assailants in a photographic array, but only after failing to identify him in two live lineup procedures. Based on her description and identification, Mayes was convicted of rape, robbery, and unlawful deviate conduct in 1982. (more on next slide)
Photo by Taryn Simon
Photo by Taryn Simon
PAULA GRAY: Served 6 years of a 50-year sentence
In 1978, Paula Gray, then seventeen years old, confessed falsely to a crime she did not commit, as well as implicated four men who had nothing to do with the crime. Gray, borderline mentally retarded, was questioned about the abduction and murder of a young white couple. She was interrogated by police in motels over the period of two days before testifying that she was present when the crimes were committed and implicating the four men who would become her co-defendants. (more on next slide)
Photo by Taryn Simon
Photo by Taryn Simon
RON WILLIAMSON: Served 11 years of a death sentence

In 1982, a young woman employed as a barmaid at the Coachlight Club in Ada, Oklahoma left work late one evening and was found dead the next morning, raped and strangled. Six years later, Ron Williamson, a former minor league baseball player in the Kansas City Royals system, and his friend Dennis Fritz were arrested and convicted of the crime. Williamson was exonerated just five days before his execution date. (more on next slide)

Photo by Taryn Simon
Photo by Taryn Simon
RONALD JONES: Served 8 years of a death sentence
On March 10, 1985, a twenty-eight-year-old woman who went out late at night to look for a Harold’s Chicken restaurant was found raped and stabbed to death in an abandoned building on Chicago’s South Side. Later that year, police produced a confession signed by Ronald Jones after a twelve-hour interrogation. At the time, Jones was an alcoholic and living in abandoned buildings.  (more on next slide)
Photo by Taryn Simon
Photo by Taryn Simon
WARITH HABIB ABDAL: Served 17 years of a 20-to-life sentence
In May 1982, a young woman was raped in a nature preserve in Buffalo, New York. Warith Habib Abdal, then Vincent Jenkins, was picked up more than four months after the crime occurred and presented to the victim in a one-on- one showup procedure. The victim failed to identify Abdal, even though the police told her that Abdal was their key suspect. She then viewed an old photograph of Abdal, returned to the showup, and finally identified him as her attacker.
Photo by Taryn Simon
Photo by Taryn Simon

The Innocents: Headshots
Photographs by Taryn Simon

September 14–October 31, 2011

Opening night reception and lecture
Wednesday, September 14 • 4:30-7pm

In The Innocents photographer Taryn Simon presents photographs of individuals who served time in prison for violent crimes they did not commit. The photographs are accompanied by the Innocence Project’s case profiles and Simon’s interviews, collected during her cross-country journey. While mugshots and photo arrays are used to condemn and imprison innocent people, Simon has turned the camera around to document the victims of misidentification and perverted justice. At issue is the question of photography’s function as a credible eyewitness and arbiter of justice.

Simon's photography and writing have been featured in The New York Times Magazine and on, CNN, BBC, and Frontline. A graduate of Brown University and a Guggenheim Fellow, Simon has been a visiting artist at Yale, Columbia, Bard College, School of Visual Arts, and Parsons School of Design. She has produced several books of her photographs and writing, including Contraband and An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, both published by Steidl, and The Innocents, published by Umbrage and A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters published by Mack Books and the Neue NationalGalerie, Berlin.

The Innocents exhibition is being held in conjunction with the Wrongful Convictions lecture series.

  • September 14, 4:30-7 P.M.—Opening reception and lecture. Rob Warden Executive Director, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern University, and award-winning legal affairs journalist and Randy Steidl Released from the Illinois Correctional Center at Danville, May 28, 2004
  • September 21, 4:30-6 P.M.—Steven Drizin Clinical Professor of Law; Associate Director, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University; Legal Director, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern University; and Co-Founder, Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, Northwestern University 
  • October 5, 4:30-6 P.M.—Delbert Tibbs, All charges dismissed by the state of Florida in 1982 because of tainted evidence.
  • October 12, 4:30-6 P.M.—Jonathan Jay Koehler Beatrice Kuhn Professor of Law, Northwestern University 

Press about the Exhibition

  • WBBM—Photo exhibit showcases faces of the wrongfully convicted
  • NBC—Specialist interviewed about memory accuracy
  • Daily Herald—Roosevelt exhibit spotlights wrongful convictions

Exhibition made possible by generous financial support from Susan B. Rubnitz.
This exhibition and lecture series is sponsored by the Joseph Loundy Human Rights Project, one of the centers and institutes of the Roosevelt University College of Arts and Sciences. The Loundy Project’s 2010–12 focus is on miscarriages of justice and wrongful convictions. Co-sponsored by the Department of Psychology, Roosevelt University, and the Justice Council of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern University School of Law.

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Gage Gallery is open Monday-Friday 9-6, Saturday 10-4 and is located at 18 S. Michigan Avenue.