Nick Yarris

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Nick Yarris
Born Nicholas James Yarris
1961 (age 56–57)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Residence Oregon
Occupation Author
Known for Wrongly convicted of murder
Spouse(s) Laura Ann Yarris (Thompson)

Nicholas James Yarris (born 1961) is an American writer and professional speaker who spent 22 years on death row after being wrongly convicted of murder.[1]

As a young child Yarris was the victim of sexual abuse and in his teens this made him a wild, uncontrolled boy dedicated to alcohol, drugs and petty crime.[2] One day Yarris and a friend stole a car. When they got to a garage, the owner offered them $200 for the car. Yarris and his friend accepted and began stealing cars in order to raise money for their growing drug addiction.[2] On one of these occasions, Yarris was blasting music while driving under the influence when he was stopped by police in his native state of Pennsylvania.[2] The officer and Yarris got into a physical confrontation, and a shot was fired, accidentally, according to Yarris. The policeman managed to handcuff Yarris, put him in the back of his car and call for reinforcement. Yarris was then charged with stealing a car, driving under the influence, kidnapping of a police officer, attempted murder of a police officer, reckless endangerment, possession of a firearm, robbery and resisting arrest.[2]

While in jail, Yarris, facing life in prison, spotted a newspaper article about the murder and rape of Linda May Craig. In The Fear of 13, the documentary based on his life, Yarris recalls how "something about that newspaper kept calling me."

To try and get out of jail time he named Jimmy, a former drug addict thought to be dead by overdose, as the suspect in the rape and murder of Linda May Craig. When Jimmy turned up alive and with no involvement in Craig's murder, Yarris became the number-one suspect.[3]

In 1981 Yarris was charged with the abduction, rape and murder of Craig, a woman he had never met in his life.[2] At the time, Yarris was a 20-year-old drug addict who had been thrown out on the streets by his family.[2] The original charges, including the attempted murder of a police officer, were dismissed when the policeman involved told the jury he had been punched by Yarris, but then failed to corroborate his version through photographic evidence. In a second trial, however, Yarris was found guilty of murdering Craig. In 1982 Yarris, 21 at the time, was sentenced to death and sent to death row.[4] In 2003, DNA evidence proved that he had not committed the crime,[5] and in 2004 he was eventually released.

Yarris sued the Delaware County District Attorney's Office for malicious prosecution and the case eventually settled for $4 million in 2008.[6]

Yarris lived in the UK from 2005, after marrying a woman with whom he had a daughter. Later he moved back to the US with his third wife, Jessica Stubley; this marriage ended six years later. He then met and married 32 year-old Laura Thompson and they now share their time between the US and UK with their family.

Yarris is the subject of the documentary The Fear of 13.[2] He is the author of the best selling autobiography Seven Days to Live My Life,[7] and the 2013 follow-up Seven Days to Love.[8]. He is currently[when?] working on another book project, a film, and the follow-up to The Fear of 13, as revealed on the True Geordie podcast.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "American, 51, cleared of rape and murder after spending 20 years on death row starts new life in Britain with barmaid fiancee, 23, after they met through Facebook". Mail Online. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g The Fear of 13 (Documentary). United Kingdom. 2015. 
  3. ^ Machell, Ben (12 November 2016). "I spent 22 years on Death Row - I was innocent". The Times. The Times Magazine (72066): 34–69. ISSN 0140-0460. 
  4. ^ "Death Penalty: Nicholas Yarris spent 22 years on death row for a murder he didn't commit". The Times Herald. 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  5. ^ Cacciottolo, Mario (2016-11-16). "Nick Yarris: 'How I survived 22 years on death row'". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  6. ^ Hall, Peter (2014-10-04). "State gives no money to people wrongly convicted". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2018-09-13. 
  7. ^ "Archives - Philly.com". articles.philly.com. Retrieved 2016-11-16. [dead link]
  8. ^ Yarris, Nick (2013). Seven Days to Love. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781492752400. 
  9. ^ The True Geordie (2017-03-02), INNOCENT ON DEATH ROW: THE FEAR OF 13 | True Geordie Podcast #22, retrieved 2017-05-20