AUSTIN, Texas - On November 20, the State of Texas could be executing an innocent man, something millions of people who signed a petition to save his life and others believe.
“We have to organize each and every day all the way up until the 20th and just hope that something good and positive can come out of this,” said Shujaa Graham.
Graham sat on death row for three years for the 1973 murder of a prison guard. It was later discovered he had been framed.
“Think about the worst day that you ever had in your life, I promise you it'll be worse. That's death row, that's capital punishment. I've been out over 30 something years and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about what if California would have had their way,” said Graham.
He said he knows the pain Rodney Reed must feel. Reed has been locked up for more than 22 years for the murder of Stacey Stites.
“Right now still today I cannot describe the depth of my pain that I felt while I was confined on death row scheduled to die,” said Graham.
Graham and longtime friend and exoneree Juan Roberto Melendez traveled from Maryland and New Mexico to hand-deliver a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott's office, urging him to halt Reed's execution and allow time for new evidence that could prove his innocence to be reviewed. Millions including celebrities and Texas lawmakers like Kirk Watson are joining the push.
“It always will be a risk to execute. We can always release a man from prison, we don't have any problems with that. But we can never, I repeat, you can never release an innocent man from the grave,” said Melendez.
Melendez sat on death row for 17 years for a murder. He was exonerated after a taped confession of the murder from someone else.
“Suicidal thoughts came through my mind, lots of my friends committed suicide,” said Melendez.
He feels for Reed and his family and hopes his group's efforts can make a change.
“All he's looking is for the same thing Shujaa and I did. Looking for an opportunity to prove innocence,” he said.