News 06.17.16

An Innocence Project Tribute to Father’s Day: Anthony Wright

By Carlita Salazar

Innocence Project client Anthony Wright was wrongfully convicted of murder in Philadelphia in 1993 based on eyewitness testimony and a coerced false confession. Despite his conviction being overturned after DNA testing of crime scene evidence excluded Wright as the perpetrator in 2013 and matched another man, he remains in prison pending retrial, which is scheduled for this August.

At the time he was convicted, Wright had a young son—Anthony Wright, Jr.—with whom he has remained close. For Father’s Day, the Innocence Blog asked Wright to discuss what his son means to him.  This is what he said:

As human beings, we go through things in life and we just don’t know that we can get through them until we do just that: we get through them. The reason that I’ve been able to get through this situation is my son.

My son, even when he’s not in front of me, he’s in front of me. He’s with me all of the time. He’s the air I breathe. He’s my everything. To hear his voice—he gives me the strength I need.

It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child. That’s been especially true in my case. He was 4 years old when this tragedy occurred; now he’s 28. I don’t know what it was between he and I, but we’ve always had a bond. And I’ve always held his attention.

He used to come see me when he was a little boy. When he was here, he would stare at me.  He would barely blink.  He just kept his eyes on me. There was a vending machine in the visiting room. He would go to the vending machine, but he would walk backwards so that he could keep his eyes on me. He was afraid that if he turned away, I wouldn’t be there when he turned back around.

The bond that we share is beyond anything that I could have ever imagined. Over the course of 24 years, he’s never wavered, he’s never stopped believing in me.

I get up every morning because of him.

Wright with his son Tony Jr. and granddaughter

Related: An Innocence Project Tribute to Father’s Day: John Nolley and His Son Bryson

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  1. Jeanne says:

    Unfathomable – this story like so many others regarding the innocent project has stayed with me – I can’t believe society – in this day and age allows this continuum.. Honestly from all the decades that has past nothing at all changes – sure we have small victories – and tiny moments of justice but as a whole – in the big picture – same same same – God bless Mr Wright and his beloved family – and God bless all the fine soldiers fighting the fight day after day for the innocence project – you are all fine examples – just Giants – your work is important thank you for all you do.

  2. Beverly Mitchell says:

    Congratulations is due to you. My son (myself ,family and friends along beside him),whom is also fightong for his freedom, ( 4 birthday’s and I think 4or 5 father day’s) he has been away from us (the family and his son'(s )???) It has been so hard for me his mother to say those phrases to him , but instead I spend two week’s for both occasion’s looking up spiritual scriptures to say those phrases to him . Nothing has been happy for me still til this day 7/1/2016, but I know in my Soul ,Faith and Belief that the day will come I will be able to hold my son holding his son'(s) as a family . Eventhough i make plans every 2 or 3months to visit him for 6 hours my son , its okay I get to touch him (it’s just not the same as to him being home FREE ),but that’s all I have for this moment.
    My attention is /has been focused on his release to every organization that will hear the plea of help from a mother ,family and freind’s of my son WRONGFul over sentenced case with no witness , no DNA and MOST IMPORTANTLY no Evidence., only a coerced person for the state to place my son befriend the codefendant and a phone call where the codependent tried to make his girlfriend say my son name , but the young lady never did. So the jury went off of circumstantial evidence of a he say she say friendship .
    Yes !!! It hurts some to this day (knowing that my son is not the person whom these charges / conviction of a sentencing of a total of 6 life’s + 50year’s +5years -which 5years are under his foot ), but not as bad any anymore, its the clear mind thatI had to find within myself to Scream my son is innocent and to think that our justice system do thing’s of this nature , but reality is that even the innocent shall suffer also.
    I dedicated my time surviving breast cancer and SLE lupus, making sure my Health is in tack to stand as a image of help for my son Freedom. To ask those organizations ,whom are here to help me to help my son (which he has reached out also with his letter’s , after letter’s ,after letter’s, but no comply has yet to come to him. Now we have had our first denial of Appeals in our State Court and presently awaiting for the state Supreme Court of appeals to view this case . We understand that things don’t happen over nite , but strength has given us HOPE , that our lawmaker’s will see that breaking up families with injustice laws are wrong and that they will change them, a process that we are fighting for .
    My son was a young man just out of high school working 2 1/5 jobs supporting his young family, volunteering to do charity work, helping big brother’s programs , helping build Habitat homes, volunteering at the Humane Society Paws, and teaching the boys at the gym how to play football, and basketball in his spare time also helping the elderly Neighbors to keep their homes safe and their lawns cut and do errands for them. And just because this codefendant , (whom has a life history of this crime since he was 15),said that my son was with him , he put my son in this horrible mess which has caused our family to fight for my son freedom -he is Innocent.
    A Mother’s plea for help is my concerns to help my son , so that his son’s will be able to know that their father was with them, teaching them the ways of manhood , to see them grow up everyday,to enjoy them in school plays ;sports etc., to hold them daily and tell them /show them Love as though me and his father as shown him through his life .
    So to this article, it made me get more Stronger for this battle of Freedom for my son , his boy’s are:
    1st son now 5
    (soon 6 in Aug.-which he was 2 at the time) -I don’t get to spend time with him , the mother walked away from us ( the family )and WONT ALLOW US TO SEE HIM
    2nd son now 3
    (soon 4 in Aug. which was born the first year my son was locked up before the trial-we found out about this son during the trial ,yes my son found out about him in court 2 days before he was sentenced to this injustice ) . – I do spend some time with this child and my son & the mother are in process having a DNA for paternity testing done to the legitimize the child .
    It’s hard days and then there are alot of days that Prayer is upon my son head , letter’s written , cards sent , pictures drawen , and many many many tears ,hugs and thoughts of his last moments as a free man .
    He will stand as a FREE MAN AGAIN ..
    A Mother’s plea for Help
    Beverly Mitchell
    of
    Stone Mountain, GA

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