A Gubernatorial Pardon

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Interview reported and produced by Andrea Dukakis

More than 70 years ago, a young man walked into a gas chamber in Canyon City grinning. Joe Arridy had been convicted of the murder and rape of a 15-year-old girl in 1937. Many believed he was innocent. Arridy had spent years in what was called The Colorado State Home and Training School for Mental Defectives in Grand Junction. It was said he had the mental capacity of a four-year old.

Denver Attorney David Martinez found Joe Arridy’s story so compelling that he successfully lobbied former Governor Bill Ritter to grant Arridy a posthmous pardon. That happened earlier this month. Martinez is with us today along with Robert Perske. He wrote the book “Deadly Innocence?” about Joe Arridy. They both talk with Sadie Babits about the crime that led to Arridy’s death sentence. It involved two sisters.

Photo courtesy of Canon City Library website.