How Asian Americans Helped Free a Wrongfully Convicted Prisoner from Death Row

In 1974, Chol Soo Lee, a Korean immigrant in his early 20s, was wrongfully accused and convicted of a gangland murder in San Francisco’s Chinatown and sentenced to life in prison. In 1977, after serving several years of his sentence, Lee stabbed a neo-Nazi inmate to death during an altercation in the prison yard, which led to another first-degree murder conviction and a life sentence. dead.

After a series of investigative articles by journalist KW Lee of the Sacramento Union, a grassroots Free Chol Soo Lee movement led by Asian American activists mobilized to exonerate Chol Soo Lee, who was released from death row at San Quentin State Prison in 1983.

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