Considering these fresh faces, I asked four questions:
- Which one was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison?
- Which one attended Howard University (a historically black school)?
- Which one is general counsel for the National Rifle Association?
- Which one served in the 82nd Airborne Division?
As so aptly unearthed by the ever-vigilant JTC, the answer to all the questions is A. But let’s take them all one by one.
That right there is one Yusef Salaam. He’s one of the infamous “Central Park 5” — a group of black and hispanic teenagers convicted of raping a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989. All of the young men were later exonerated and released when another man confessed to the crime (and his DNA backed up his story). The Central Park 5 recently settled a lawsuit against the New York Police Department for globs and globs of cash.
The lady straight out of Mad Men central casting is Nannie Doss. She killed eleven members of her own family: four of her five husbands, two of her kids, her only two sisters, her mother, a grandson, and a mother-in-law. She was convicted of killing her last husband and sentenced to life in prison. So I guess technically, she would qualify as an acceptable response to question #1.
Meet Jake Bird. He’s your run-of-the-mill axe murderer. It’s believed that he might have killed as many as 46 people, though he was only convicted of killing two. Born in cajun country, he’s also famous for the Jake Bird Hex. After his conviction, he was heard to say of everyone involved in the trial, “Mark my words you will die before I do.” And like clockwork, many of them did. Although he was convicted, he wasn’t sentenced to life. He was executed by hanging.
This young gent is the only one that fits the bill for all four questions. His name is Robert Dowlut. He was convicted of murder in the ’60s and sentenced to life in prison. His conviction was overturned, not because he was proven innocent, but because of shoddy police work (he wasn’t Mirandized, among other things). He went on to become an army paratrooper, graduate from Indiana University, and earn a law degree from Howard of all places. And now, decades later, he’s General Counsel of the NRA. Yep, that NRA.
So now for a new question. Does this bother anyone? Having a one-time-convicted murderer in the highest echelons of the National Rifle Association? On the one hand, his conviction was overturned, as it should have been (click here to read the court opinion). On the other hand, I’m no detective but it sounds like he did in fact shoot a pawn shop owner and kill his girlfriend’s mother. He confessed, after all.
But then again, so did Yusef Salaam.