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Adams Appears at Showing of “The Thin Blue Line″

May 12, 1989

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Even though his murder conviction was questioned in the movie ″The Thin Blue Line″ and the verdict against him eventually thrown out, Randall Dale Adams does not feel vindicated.

But since he is unlikely to get a new trial, Adams said Thursday, he hopes to spread his story widely, hoping it will help keep others from getting railroaded.

Adams and filmmaker Errol Morris answered questions from about 300 people following a special screening of the film here Thursday.

Since Adams’ release March 22, Morris said he had received many letters from prisoners proclaiming their innocence. Adams’ lawyer, Randy Schaffer of Houston, also has been deluged with requests for help.

Morris said he was flattered his work had led to the release of Adams, convicted in 1977 for the slaying of Dallas policeman Robert Wood, but was a little overwhelmed.

″I have been getting a lot of letters from lawyers and prisoners, but I’m a filmmaker, not an investigative journalist,″ Morris said.

″Even (distant) family members are calling, saying they’re in trouble,″ Morris said. ″No more ‘miscarriage of justice’ films for me.″

Adams, 40, spent more than 12 years in a Texas prison and once faced execution for the 1976 slaying. In 1980 his death sentence was commuted to life in prison.

In Morris’ documentary, David Ray Harris, an inmate now on death row for another murder, recanted his testimony against Adams and all but confessed to the killing.

The Texas Court of Criminals Appeals set aside Adams’ conviction March 1, ruling the prosecution suppressed evidence and used perjured testimony. The Dallas County district attorney’s office dropped the charge March 24, saying evidence was insufficient for a new trial.

″I would have preferred to have a jury in Dallas release me,″ Adams said in an interview. ″I’m not fully satisfied.″

Adams was set free March 22 and has hit the talk show and lecture circuit since returning to Columbus, where he lives with his mother on the city’s west side.

″It’s been very therapeutic for him going around the country to talk about his case,″ said Schaffer, the attorney. ″The reaction he has gotten has probably done more for him than any psychiatrist could have done.″

Adams was asked whether he felt bitter about the time he spent in prison.

″I don’t like the fact that the years were taken from me,″ Adams said. ″But I’m happy they didn’t execute me 10 years ago. Monday would have been the 10-year anniversary of my execution date.″

Adams was asked if he thought Harris would ever be tried for Woods’ slaying.

″The only way they could try Harris is if they got Randall Adams to testify and I don’t think they’re big enough to do that,″ he said.

Tickets to the film showing were $10 each, with proceeds going toward the Randall Dale Adams Benefit Fund. The fund was established to help Adams pay legal expenses.

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