Jermane Scott is serving life without parole for the 1996 murder of Bertram Thomas, in Springfield, OH.
He has currently been fighting his wrongful conviction for 23 years. Here he speaks candidly about his past experiences, and how during his mitigation hearing, he was ‘spared’ the death sentence in part due to revelations about the true identity of his family.
These 3 letters may have one meaning for most people. However, for me these 3 letters have many meanings, which I would like to share in my own words.
Did. Not. Acknowledge
Recognize the 3 letters? D.N.A
Most people recognize these letters as simply relating to one’s link to a crime; trying to establish paternity, or helping one in a medical crisis seeking a D.N.A match to save a life. Even in the midst of a crisis that the world has never seen, D.N.A is becoming essential to find a cure for the Covid-19 virus. I can relate to some elements of what I just mentioned with those 3 letters D.N.A, yet there are so many complexities to those 3 letters, and now is my chance to share with any audience what D.N.A means to me and how D.N.A has impacted my life.
My definition of D.N.A, the acronym – Did. Not. Acknowledge
That’s right, Did Not Acknowledge.
Right from the start of this, what can only be labeled as torture, the police detectives Did Not Acknowledge that I was a human being, but only a suspect and a case. They (the legal system ) Did Not Acknowledge the possibility that I had nothing to do with the crime for which I was accused of. They had their suspect and that was all that mattered to them then, and now.
The jury Did Not Acknowledge my humanity during the entire process of my trial. The jury or the police Did Not Acknowledge that many lives would be affected by convicting an innocent person of killing someone’s family member/loved one. The judge Did Not Acknowledge the performance the prosecutor put on with obvious perjured testimony from numerous ‘witnesses’ called to testify during my trial. Now the irony of all ironies: the acronym DNA related to helping one reach a conclusion in life be it crime or familial matters. Guess what? The legal system Did Not Acknowledge the fact that not one speck of my DNA was at either crime scene (meaning the victim’s house, or car) yet, on this very day, the entire legal system in Springfield, Ohio has in their possession at least 10+ untested fingerprint cards from fingerprints lifted from the stolen vehicle of the victim, Mr.Bertram Thomas.
This is the very same system that sought to put me to death for a crime that I could have NEVER committed. I will not exclude the underdog in the legal system; public defenders, because they too have some culpability in why there are some innocent people sitting behind bars. Some, but not all public defenders have not, and Did Not Acknowledge that their clients were worthy of their best effort regardless of their inadequate budget provided by the court system (Scott’s attorneys did not call–or even interview–an alibi witness that could potentially have cleared his name). I am certainly a witness–an experience one at that–of what can happen when a public defender doesn’t have the necessary budget to fight a capital murder case.
DNA–the real acronym–took something away from me that I have finally come to terms with, and that is due to my acronym (Did Not Acknowledge ) my family. The only one I knew from the time I could walk.
I faced the death penalty, and during the penalty phase–known better as the mitigation hearing in legal parlance–my paternity (DNA) was FORCED into a criminal proceeding in order to invoke sympathy to save my life, or at least prevent the State of Ohio from executing me under the law. The entire legal process Did Not Acknowledge how that revelation would hurt me, or affect me for the next 24+ years and counting.
They Did Not Acknowledge that with that revelation my entire family as I knew it would completely and unabashedly abandon me throughout this entire process. That one aspect of my life has caused me untold anguish until I have found the nerve to free myself of these thoughts via the written/typed words as I am conveying right now.
I Did Not Acknowledge the fact that for years. I suffered long bouts of depression until I sought out help to deal with sudden mood swings that occurred with no seeming explanation behind them.
I Did Not Acknowledge that I am more than worthy of keeping my humanity intact even from the worst possible position on the planet earth: prison.
I do acknowledge it now ,and will forever more, I can say that with confidence.
Everything I Did Not Acknowledge for years,I am now acknowledging with a voice that hopes to be heard .
Life Without Parole. I Did Not Acknowledge that meant Never getting out of prison for the rest of my natural life. I do now.
Prison life: I for years Did Not Acknowledge that while I was just focused on surviving, I could start focusing on fighting for my voice to be heard and my innocence to be taken seriously. I Did Not Acknowledge that prison destroys human beings when I first came to here.
It does and will continue to do so at an alarming rate .
In conclusion, I can only hope that one DNA acronym, ‘Did Not Acknowledge’ gets abolished, and the other DNA acronym secures my freedom.
Jermane Scott. April 20th, 2020
Jermane can be contacted via JPay with any questions that you may have. Maybe you’d just like to speak with Jermane. I’m sure he’d like that too.
Jermane is incarcerated in Ohio, his inmate number: A350302
Any further questions can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via my twitter.