Exonerate Jack

Jack Alderman was the longest serving prisoner on Death Row in the USA. For nearly 34 years Jack Alderman sought justice. His final appeal was denied in November 2006. He was only hours from execution on October 18th 2007 when he received a temporary stay while the US Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of lethal injection. However it was sanctioned on April 16th 2008, despite overwhelming evidence that it may cause excruciating pain. London artist, Simone Sandelson fought to a last minute for a reprieve for the man who has inspired her paintings.

Jack Alderman was executed by lethal injection at 7:15 pm est on 
Tuesday 16th September. He died in 14 minutes with a smile on his face.

home fact sheet biography a case for innocence
testimonies of love and hate

1951 29th May. Born, Savannah, Georgia to Mary and Jack Alderman. (Father worked on the railroad for 44 years and was a World War II veteran). Height 5'7", white.

1954, 2 March. Birth of Theresa, Jack's sister.

1954, Mary walked out; Jack's grandparents legally adopted the children and moved into the family home.¹

1955, Jack’s eye injury in fishing accident. 4 operations to save his left eye. 3 months later, the day the bandages were removed a 13 yr old boy with Down's syndrome pushed a rusty hacksaw blade into the same eye. It was destroyed.

1967, aged 16 Jack woke up totally blind. Sent away from home to the Georgia Academy for the Blind.

1968, June. Sight slowly returned after removal of damaged left eye, returned to High School; an exceptional student and Senior Patrol Leader of the Boy Scouts.

1969, Double Scholarship to College.

1971, Married Barbara Jean Blase.

Worked for the Historic Parks dept. In Savannah, then became Assistant Manager in local supermarket. Barbara worked for the City Data Base. They were happily married.

1974, Sept 21st, Barbara was found murdered apparently drowned in her car in Dashers Creek, Effingham County. Jack’s colleagues offered testimonies and raised money for his defence, to no avail.

1974, Sept 22nd, Jack was detained for 10 days in custody by Effingham County.

1974 September 30th, John Arthur Brown was taken for the second time for questioning. He refused to take a polygraph test. After consistent denials of any involvement and after a private discussion with the District Attorney, Brown’s story then became that he was following orders from Alderman. He later stated that he had been promised benefits to testify against Alderman ².

1974, November, Preliminary hearing due to be a joint indictment of Brown and Alderman.   State failed to deliver essential documents to Alderman’s defence attorney until two working days before the hearing.  The 78 year old attorney, therefore, declined to speak on Alderman’s behalf and the joint indictment was separated into two trials, Alderman’s first.

1975, June 14th, Jack Alderman is convicted of the murder of his wife, on the testimony of Brown and sentenced to death.

1975, November, John Arthur Brown is convicted of the murder of Barbara Alderman and sentenced to death in a separate trial.

1978, Brown’s death sentence was commuted to a life sentence³.

1980, Execution date for Alderman, July 6th. Federal Judge convenes a review and orders a retrial or a release: placed ‘in transit’ for 4 years, while State appealed.

1985, Discussions of a life sentence with parole against a guilty plea. Jack maintained his innocence and refused to plead guilty. On April 1st 1985, at a new sentencing trial he was again sentenced to die. Jack Alderman has had several appeals but lost the final one in November 2006.

October 19th 2007, execution date. Temporary stay while the Supreme Court decides on the constitutionality of lethal injection.

September 16th 2008, Executed by lethal injection.

¹ "Our home glowed with warmth, gentleness and love" (Letter from Jack Alderman, Aug 2005).
² The deal with the Assistant District Attorney was only confirmed in 1998 after Brown’s release from jail and from parole. Until that point both Brown and the State denied there was a deal.
³ Each time Brown testifies against Alderman there is legal action in Brown’s case that increases his liberty status – from a death sentence to life in prison, from life in prison to parole to total freedom.

site design & hosting: philip bergman