A Cleveland native, Raymond Towler, now 52, left prison yesterday after being inside for nearly 30 years. He was exonerated of a crime he said he never committed. The DNA test showed that he could not have possibly been the man that raped an 11-year old Cleveland girl in a Cleveland park in 1981. The technology that didn’t exist all those many years ago is finally here and saving inmates all over the country. But Towler is amongst one of the longest incarcerated in U.S. history on a crime he did not commit.
The judge offered an irish blessing to Towler saying, “May the road rise to meet you and may the wind be always at your back.” Towler went with friends to have pizza and was amazed at all the cell phone activity. He said, “If somebodywasn’t taking a picture with a cell phone, someone was texting, one was ringing. All 22 cell phones, all at once.” Coming into Cleveland was yet another mind boggling experience for him because the Cleveland skyline has completely changed for him. He said he didn’t even “recognize” it.
What can you give a man who has lost 30 years of his life? How can you make up for that? You take someone from their life and then drop them in a hole for nearly 30 years and expect a financial payment to be enough. It is despicable and deplorable and certainly worth more than the nearly $50,000 a year for every year they’ve been removed from their families and society. Nothing can pay for that. We have so many damaged individuals walking among us that no one can repair. It is only the grace of God that has kept these people in their right mind. Towler said it himself, “God is good. I didn’t really do it by myself.”