Wrongly convicted, Hobart man fights to clear guilty name

Thursday, April 3rd 2008, 12:03 am
By: News 9

By Stacey Cameron, NEWS 9

Wrongfully accused of murder 25 years ago, Gene Weatherly now fights for justice.  

There was a problem with that sentencing. The problem is made worse by the fact Weatherly still can't clear his name of the guilt.

Gene Weatherly is walking up the marble steps of the State Capitol, down the corridors of the legislature and through the office door of every lawmaker he can find.

"My only avenue is to go through the political system," Weatherly said. "I'm just asking for what I deserve."

While Weatherly's footsteps carry him across the Capitol now, it's a walk he's been taking for more than 20 years.

"I'm looking forward to my name finally being cleared after a decade and a half," Weatherly said. "Hopefully we have some senators here that will hear this voice; my cry for justice."

Weatherly's cry for justice is a cry to clear his name.

That's because Weatherly was wrongly convicted of stabbing a woman he never met - eventually serving 15 years in prison.

And while Governor Henry pardoned Weatherly last year, after learning his conviction was due to false testimony, state law won't allow Gene to clear his name and his criminal record.

So, hearing Weatherly's story, State Representative Ryan McMullen wrote a bill allowing people like Weatherly to wipe clean their criminal record if pardoned by the Governor, based on innocence.

While Weatherly watched the law pass through the House of Representatives, he had to start walking once the bill got stuck in the Senate.

"I'm placing it in the senator's hands, because that's where I know it lays right now," Weatherly said.

Weatherly finally got to see Senator James Williamson. And while Williamson agreed to hear Weatherly's bill, he knows his name won't be cleared tomorrow. So until then, Weatherly says he'll walk the halls looking for justice, fighting to clear his name.

"If I have to fight another 25 years, I'll fight another 25 years," Weatherly said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee said they'll hear and vote on Weatherly's Bill Thursday morning.

If the bill passes committee it moves to the full Senate where it could become law sometime in May.

And while Weatherly lives in Hobart, he said he'll stay in Oklahoma City overnight to see if his bill passes committee Thursday.