Local Play Tells Life Stories Of Exonerated Inmates On Death Row For Crimes They Didn't Commit

Monday, June 28th 2021, 5:47 pm


The Exonerated is the real-life accounts of inmates on death row for crimes they didn't commit.

The play is presented by The Vanguart, a group created to give support and opportunities to African American artist in Oklahoma. 

Regina Banks is the founder of the group, this play hits close to home for her because of her ties with Oklahoma inmate, Julius Jones. 

“I knew Julius Jones. I went to college with him. We were at OU together. So, it was a big shock when he was arrested for murder.” Banks said. 

Jones was sentenced to death for the 1999 murder of Edmond businessman Paul Howell. Jones has maintained his innocence and is trying to get clemency. 

This play focuses on six wrongfully convicted people. It’s told in their own words, - from interviews, letters, transcripts, and the public record. 

“I hope that people can take away from the play, that it is entirely too easy to be convicted of a crime today in America,” Banks said. 

The play is directed by LaCharles Purvey, who has written and directed many plays in the Oklahoma City area. In fact, he's been referenced as Oklahoma City's Tyler Perry. 

“Well you know, I love the comparison. I’ve been doing theatre a long time and I love it. And I’m going to continue to do it as long as I can,” said Purvey. 

A portion of the proceeds from the play will go to the Oklahoma Innocence Project to help exonerate death row inmates. 

The play is showing at Heritage Hall school located at 1800 NW 122nd Street. There are eight showings between July 1 and July 11. For show times and prices, visit here.