The District Attorney added, “We all came to the opinion that without Derrick Smith, we did not have a case we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt.” Jack Fisher, Powell’s attorney, said his client has always maintained his innocence and that Powell’s release is “bittersweet. It should have happened a long time ago. It’s unfortunate that he had to spend 16 years of his life in jail. What it boils down to is they had no evidence he was guilty. The testimony that they used to convict him was false.”
(S. Murphy, "Two ex-death row inmates released from Oklahoma prison," Associated Press, October 5, 2009; R. Surette, "Why 2 Death Row Inmates Were Set Free," News9.com, Oct. 6, 2009). See Innocence.
Douglas was the 137th inmate exonerated from death row since 1973, and Powell is the 138th, according to a list of exonerations maintained by the Death Penalty Information Center. Ten inmates have been exonerated and freed from Oklahoma. The criteria for inclusion on the list are:
Defendants must have been convicted, sentenced to death and subsequently either-
a) their conviction was overturned AND
i) they where acquitted at re-trial or
ii) all charges were dropped
b) they were given an absolute pardon by the governor based on new evidence of innocence