Planet Princeton

Photo Exhibition Features Lives of Wrongfully Convicted

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Twelve years ago, Diane Bladecki was given tickets to see “The Exonerated,” a play that told the stories of several men and women who spent years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

One of the people she met that night was Kerry Max Cook, a Texas man who spent 22 years on death row and was freed with the help of Centurion, the Princeton-based non-profit that works to free the innocent.

3Bladecki and Cook became friends over dinner that night in a restaurant close to the theater. She recalls how she told Centurion’s director, Kate Germond, that the photographs in the theater lobby were so intense, they made the innocent men and women look like criminals. Germond’s response was “If you can do better…” Bladecki kept in touch with Cook, and traveled to the Catskills to photograph him with his young son. That picture became the cover for his book and the beginning of a new calling for Bladecki, who then photographed innocent men and woman and their families as a volunteer. Twelve years after meeting Cook, Bladecki now works for Centurion as the organization’s marketing director.

Her photographs of the innocent will be on display at the Arts Council of Princeton from Oct. 7 to Oct. 22. An opening reception will be held this Friday, Oct. 7, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Arts Council, which is located at 102 Witherspoon Street in downtown Princeton.

Exoneree Barry Beach’s Visit to Nassau Presbyterian Church Postponed

Falsely imprisoned for 33 years, Barry Beach was scheduled to speak at Nassau Presbyterian Church on Sunday, Oct. 16. He is unable to attend and his visit will be rescheduled. We will post information about the new date when it becomes available.

Centurion Founder Jim McCloskey with Barry Beach (c) after he was exonerated.

Centurion Founder Jim McCloskey with Barry Beach (c) after a judge ordered his immediate release for a crime he did not commit.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Joe

    One wonders how many innocent people are still in prison and will never be exonerated. Thank goodness these few have been freed from unjust imprisonment by the efforts of Centurion and other justice groups.

  • Great back story, love the work Centurion does.

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