In Memoriam: Johnnie Lindsey

02.05.18 By Innocence Staff

Christopher Scott, Johnnie Lindsey, and Steven Phillips at New York's Tribeca Film Festival premiere for their documentary

Christopher Scott, Johnnie Lindsey, and Steven Phillips at New York's Tribeca Film Festival premiere for their documentary "True Conviction" in April 2017.

Late last week, the innocence community lost Johnnie Lindsey, a remarkable man and true champion for justice. Lindsey died of liver cancer on Friday morning in Dallas. He was 65 years old.

Lindsey, represented by Kris Moore, was exonerated in 2009 in Dallas County of a 1981 rape for which he was wrongfully imprisoned for 26 years. According to his friends and family, in the years following his exoneration, Lindsey took life by the reins. He pursued his passions, which included playing piano and keyboard—a skill he picked up when he was wrongfully incarcerated—and charting a better path for others who’d also been wrongfully convicted.

He joined fellow Texas exonerees Christopher Scott and Steven Philips as an investigator for the nonprofit organization House of Renewed Hope—founded by Scott—with the purpose of examining and helping to clear possible cases of wrongful conviction. In 2016, Lindsey, Scott and Philips helped Isiah Hill—a man who spent more than 40 years of a life sentence for a robbery he’s long maintained that he didn’t commit—to secure his freedom through getting parole. a documentary about the three men and their work on the case, premiered last year at the Tribeca Film Festival last April.

“Johnnie was a trailblazer. He was a warrior. He was a soldier,” said Scott to KCEN TV in Texas last week.

Lindsey’s deep desire to make a positive difference in the world was evident in a 2014 Dallas Morning News article about his efforts to share his love for music through helping open a new music school.

“Johnnie was a trailblazer. He was a warrior. He was a soldier.” C. Scott

“My whole time in the penitentiary, I just wanted to get out and do one thing, and if I could do that one thing, my life has been well worth the struggle,” Lindsey said to Dallas Morning News in 2014. “I wanted to make a difference. If we all felt that way, to make a difference in somebody’s life, this would be a much better world.”

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Jennifer Adamson February 28, 2019 at 4:02 pm Reply   

What a wonderful documentary. I was so moved I cried. Wonderful for these men to have a mission to make sense of the wrongs done to them. RIP Johnnie.

Lee Swier February 28, 2019 at 8:25 am Reply   

Christopher Scott and Steven Phillips I just finished watching your epic groundbreaking documentary True Conviction in which I was deeply saddened to hear of the terrible loss of Johnnie Lindsey. I cannot recall ever being so emotionally moved by a documentary as I was with True Conviction. I have the utmost respect and admiration for all you gentlemen have done and continue to do for so many others who have been so horribly wronged by a corrupt inept judicial system. It would be quite easy to be bitter and angry but instead you upstanding fine gentlemen spend countless hours days weeks and months giving back and helping others which to me is immeasurably admirable. You gentlemen are the epitome of humanitarians in my opinion. Though I’ve not walked in the shoes you wear not treaded the path you were forced to I can at least empathise. Thank you all so very much for all your kindness and selflessness.

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