In Memoriam: George Allen
10.17.16 By Carlita Salazar
Over the weekend, the Innocence Project learned that George Allen, an exoneree and former Innocence Project client, died at his home outside of St. Louis, Missouri.
Allen spent 30 years of his life in prison for a crime that he did not commit. In 1983, he was wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a young woman who had been found dead in her home the year prior. Allen was picked up by police by chance about a month after the crime occurred. He’d been mistaken for a suspect and was taken in for questioning. Before the interrogation concluded, one of the officers realized that Allen was not their suspect. But rather than release him, the officer proceeded with the questioning. Allen, who suffered from severe mental illness, eventually falsely confessed. He was convicted based on that false confession and sentenced to 99 years in prison.
In 2013, Allen was exonerated. Over the course of the 30 years that Allen was in prison, his mother, Lonzetta Taylor, was his steadfast advocate. She made frequent visits to see him and never stopped believing that one day he would be freed.
“I had no doubt he was gonna get out. I knew he was innocent —he was with us that day [of the crime],” Taylor said to the St Louis Dispatch in 2011.
On the day that Allen was finally released, Taylor said, “I hadn’t touched him in years. We’ve always spoken behind a glass. There are no words that could describe how that felt.”
After he was exonerated, Allen lived with Taylor, who resumed her role as his caretaker. Sadly, Allen encountered physical and mental health issues, some of them resulting from the time he spent wrongly imprisoned.
The staff of the Innocence Project are deeply saddened by Allen’s death. We all extend our thoughts and condolences to Ms. Taylor and her family.
His family has created a fundraising page in order to pay for his funeral costs. You can donate here.
George Allen’s Mom Stood by Her Son for Three Painful Decades in Prison
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November 4, 2016 at 1:42 pm
Jack, do you understand what “exonerated” means? By the standards of your comment, I suppose that if you went to prison today, although innocent, just the fact that you were (WRONGFULLY) IN PRISON means that you are therefore a criminal for the rest of your life? If you pay attention to the news, there are exonerations happening everyday all over the country. That is because our system fails sometimes, and innocent people go to prison. George was NOT a convicted felon.
Hedy (Edna) Harden November 18, 2016 at 5:13 pm
George was not only falsely imprisoned, but he lost an eye after being assaulted in prison, likely by someone who believed George was actually a rapist.
The crime for which he was convicted occurred in January of 1982. I remember that day in St. Louis. That’s when we had the overnight 24 inches of snow and many of us were snowed in for several days. George lived with his family in University City, and he helped dig his sister’s car out so she could go to work. He was home with his family all that day. The woman who was raped and murdered worked for the Post-Dispatch, and there was a lot of publicity about the crime. Anyone who feels they want to join the fight to change our justice system is welcome to join Missouri CURE, a prison reform organization formed here in 1990. Go to missouricure.org or call me at 314-730-CURE (2873). For Justice, Hedy Harden, Chair, Missouri CURE