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Josh Kezer: The Crime He Didn't Commit

Josh spent 16 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He sought comfort in God. Read Transcript


Reporter: NOVEMBER 1992, 19-YEAR-OLD

MICHELLE LAWLESS WAS FOUND

IN HER CAR IN BENTON,

MISSOURI, BRUTALLY BEATEN

AND SHOT TO DEATH.

JOSH KEYSER, AN 18-YEAR-OLD

GANG MEMBER WITH A TROUBLED

PAST, WAS ARRESTED.

THE SHERIFF AND PROSECUTOR

QUICKLY BUILT A CASE AGAINST

HIM, AND BROUGHT HIM TO

TRIAL.

THE ONLY PROBLEM: JOSH

KEYSER WAS INNOCENT.

I KNEW THAT THE SHERIFF

WAS GOING TO DO EVERYTHING

IN HIS POWER TO MAKE SURE I

WENT TO PRISON.

I KNEW I WAS INNOCENT.

BUT I KNEW THAT HE DIDN'T

CARE.

THE EVIDENCE SPOKE IN MY

FAVOR.

THERE WAS D.N.A. FOUND

UNDERNEATH THE VICTIM'S

FINGERNAILS.

THE F.B.I. ACTUALLY TESTED

THE D.N.A. AND EXCLUDED ME.

THERE WAS NO FINGERPRINT, NO

PALPALM PRINT, NO MOTIVE,

NO CONNECTION TO THE

VICTIM.

Reporter: IT TOOK ONLY

THREE AND A HALF HOURS OF

DELIBERATION FOR THE JURY TO

ARRIVE AT THEIR VERDICT:

GUILTY.

JOSH WAS SENTENCED TO 60

YEARS IN PRISON FOR A MURDER

HE DID NOT COMMIT.

IT IS STILL HARD TO THINK

ABOUT.

EVERYTHING WENT NUMB.

IN THE DISTANCE I HEARD

YELLING AND SCREAMING, AND I

REALIZED THAT AT THAT MOMENT

WHAT I WAS HEARING WAS

MYSELF YELLING I DIDN'T DO

THIS.

I DIDN'T DO THIS!

Reporter: BEFORE THE

TRIAL EVER BEGAN, JOSH

RECEIVED A BIBLE IN JAIL AND

STARTED READING IT.

HE SAYS HE RENEWED HIS

CHILDHOOD FAITH.

I KEPT READING.

KEPT READING THROUGH THE

SCRIPTURES.

AND WHAT WAS HAPPENING IS I

WAS FINDING MYSELF LIKE

KNOWING I ALWAYS BELIEVED

THIS STUFF.

I WAS LEANING ON JESUS

IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE HE WAS

MY BEST FRIEND.

BECAUSE I HAD NOBODY ELSE TO

TALK TO AT TIMES.

Reporter: THAT FAITH

BECAME HE ONLY SOURCE OF

HOPE AS HE ENTERED THE

MISSOURI STATE

PENITENTIARY.

ONCE LABELLED THE BLOOD

BLOODIEST PRISON IN

AMERICA.

I LIVED WITH CHILD

MOLESTERS, RAPISTS,

THIEVES.

Reporter: JOSH SAYS IT

WAS GOD WHO KEPT HIM ALIVE

AND GAVE HIM HOPE.

I LITERALLY HAD MEN

GAMBLING AS TO HOW LONG IT

WOULD TAKE ME TO BE KILLER

RAPED.

AND THE HAND OF GOD WAS ON

ME THROUGH THE ENTIRE

EXPERIENCE.

IT WAS AN AWFUL EXPERIENCE,

BUT I BECAME SOMETHING

DIFFERENTMENT I BECAME A

CHRISTIAN.

WHEN YOU HAVE CHRIST IN THAT

PLACE, YOU CAN SEE THE

SUNSHINE.

YOU NOTICE THE LIFE AROUND

YOU.

THAT IS THE BEAUTY OF THE

LORD.

LIVING IN THAT NIGHTMARE,

BUT LIVING IN PURPOSE WHERE

THERE IS NO PURPOSE.

LIVING IN PEACE WHERE THERE

IS NO PEACE.

FEELING FREE WHERE

EVERYTHING AROUND YOU IS

CONFINED.

Reporter: INMATES AND

CHAPLAINS ALIKE WITNESSED

JOSH'S FAITH AND THE

PERSECUTION THAT CAME WITH

IT.

IT WAS A CONSTANT BARAGE

FOR JOSH TO STAND SO STRONG

WITH HIS FAITH THAT GOD WAS

GOING TO DELIVER HIM FROM

THESE THINGS.

HE FOCUSES IN ON THE WORD

AND HE FOCUSES IN ON HIS

GOD.

AND HE STILL HAD THAT HOPE

WHEN IT SEEMED NO ONE ELSE

BELIEVED IN HIM.

Reporter: BUT AFTER TWO

FAILED APPEALS, THERE WERE

MOMENTS WHEN JOSH STRUGGLED

TO KEEP HIS FAITH.

I DID NOT WANT TO WAKE UP

ANOTHER DAY IN PRISON.

I WAS TIRED AND I HAD HAD

ENOUGH.

HE WOULD TELL ME QUIETLY,

I'VE GOTTEN YOU THIS FAR.

WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I CAN'T

GET YOU TO WHERE I WANT

YOU.

HE STARTED WHISPERING IN MY

HEART AND MY MIND.

FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, NONE OF

THIS IS GOING TO MEAN

ANYTHING.

Reporter: AROUND THAT

TIME, JANE WILLIAMS, FROM

"LOVE INC," A PRISON

MINISTRY, GOT JOSH'S CASE

REOPENED.

I WANTED TO BE DECLARED

INNOCENT.

AND GOD GAVE ME A PEACE

ABOUT THAT.

GOD WAS ABOUT TO SHOW OFF.

HE WAS ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING

THAT HASN'T EVERY BEEN DONE

BEFORE.

I KNEW THAT AND I BELIEVED

THAT.

Reporter: AFTER 16

YEARS IN PRISON FOR A MURDER

HE DIDN'T COMMIT, JOSH HAD A

NEW TRIAL.

THIS TIME BY CLEAR AND

CONVINCING EVIDENCE, HE WAS

DECLARED INNOCENT.

AN OUTCOME ONLY JOSH HAD

SEEN COMING.

I HAD SEEN GOD DELIVER ME

FROM SITUATION AFTER

SITUATION, PEOPLE THAT TRIED

TO ATTACK ME, BEAT ME, RAPE

ME, KILL ME, AND I HAD SEEN

GOD DELIVER ME TIME AFTER

TIME AFTER TIME.

HOW COULD I EXPECT ANYTHING

DIFFERENT.

AND THAT TIME CAME.

I'M VERY THANKFUL FOR WHAT

THE JUDGE DID.

I'M VERY THANKFUL FOR THE

ATTORNEYS AND THE PEOPLE IN

MY LIFE, BUT I'M VERY

THANKFUL TO GOD BECAUSE HE

GAVE THEM TO ME.

HE SET ME FREE IN MY SPIRIT,

MY MIND AND MY BODY.

Reporter: TODAY JOSH IS

A FREE MAN.

HE SURROUNDS HIMSELF WITH

PEOPLE WHO LOVE HIM AND HIS

FAITH.

TURN TO JESUS.

IN YOUR MOMENT OF

DESPERATION, TURN TO JESUS.

I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT

THE LORD IS THE LORD OF

HOPE.

AND THAT HE IS NOT

INTIMIDATED BY ANYBODY'S

PROBLEMS.

HE IS NOT SHOCKED BY YOUR

STRUGGLES AND SINS.

HE CAN HANDLE YOU YOU.

AND HE CAN HANDLE ANYTHING

YOU'RE GOING THROUGH.

AND HE STILL DOES MIRACLES.

AND ON OCCASION, HE REACHES

INTO A PRISON AND HE SETS A

MAN FREE AFTER 16 YEARS.

THAT'S THE JESUS THAT I WANT

PEOPLE TO KNOW.

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