tv The Disturbing Case Of Eddy Lowery MSNBC December 15, 2013 3:00am-4:01am PST
mandela died earlier this month at the age of 95 after a long illness. the global icon is being celebrated for the spirit of forgiveness he fostered, even after being in prison for 27 years by the apartheid system that he ultimately brought down. here in the midwest, the major story is the deadly winter storm. parts of maine could see up to 14 inches. i'm veronica de la cruz. now back to the program. in a small town in kansas, a woman is brutally raped. >> she thought she was going to die. she was very frightened. >> a young soldier is in the hot seat. >> he says, i got you now. he goes, i know you did this. and he slammed his hands down on the desk. now, i know you did this, mr. lowery. come clean with me.
>> and a confession sealed his fate. >> it appeared to be a situation where justice was done. >> but after 20 years, the young soldier is a middle-aged man with a history and one big regret. >> i tore myself up over the years about why i confessed. you know, why i dealt with it that way. i don't know why i did it. >> is eddie lowery innocent of the rape that sent him to prison? and if so, is the real rapist still on the loose? in america's heartland, in an upscale suburb of kansas city lives a man named eddie james
lowery. he has all the trappings of success. a wife, kids. by any definition, the american dream achieved. but this sunny picture has a dark side. >> this was a case where somebody broke into the victim's apartment, covered her head with a sheet. strange as it could seem, could famed co-founder barry scheck be talking about eddie lowery? >> what's extraordinary about this in my mind is that if eddie lowery, all-american boy from covina, california, a soldier in the military, can all of a sudden be put into a jackpot in a false confession case, then it can happen to anybody.
>> it's the summer of 1981. eddie lowery is 22 years old. growing up in california in a family with eight children. money was always tight. lowery decides to join the army and go places. he ends up at ft. riley, kansas. >> never been to kansas before. didn't hear a whole lot of good things about it, i guess, besides being flatland and nothing to do and all that stuff. so i moved my daughter and my wife out to a little town called ogden, kansas, right outside of ft. riley. >> in the '80s ft. riley is home to the 1st infantry division, the big red 1. it's the oldest division in the army. with a rich history, lowery is happy to be part of. >> i thought i was a good soldier. i was moving up in rank. i enjoyed being in the army.
on the flip side of that, the late '70s s so i grew up with my friends in high school. we partied a lot. you know, we drank and things like that. and that continued to be a part of my life even when i was a soldier. >> and that's what eddie lowery is up to the night of july 26th, 1981. he's throwing a party at his trailer. but around 3:00 a.m., growing tired of the company, lowery steps out for some fresh air. he doesn't get far. >> when i left my trailer, aim down the dirt road right here that was in front of my trailer. i made a left, i came down elm street, and approximately a block or two -- maybe a block down the road, right here, i hit a parked car. i still got a scar -- a small scar right here where my chin hit the steering wheel and my
head hit the windshield on impact. i was bleeding. i took my shirt off and held it up to my chin to stop the bleeding. >> the patrol officer arrives, gives lowery a field sobriety test, which he passes, and types up a report. and so begins a string of bad luck that will take years to untangle. the next day, lowery gets a call asking him to come down to the riley county police department. he meets detective harry malugani and detective doug johnson, and he's brought to a small interrogation room. >> i'm thinking, okay. i figured it was because of the car accident. >> detective malugani says he's here to talk about a rape. >> and right there i got defensive. i said, well, i don't know anything about no rape. all i was involved with was a car accident.
>> eddie lowery, it seems, is in the middle of a coincidence. the night of his party just a few blocks down the street, an intruder enters the home of a 74-year-old woman. >> she was sleeping. she was in bed. the person came in and attacked her. >> the attacker hits the woman in the head with the butt of a knife, covers her face with a pillow and rapes her. >> patrick caffey is the county prosecutor assigned to the case. >> she thought she was going to die, frankly. she was very frightened. >> when police arrive, she's struggling to breathe and bleeding from the head. the only description of the attacker she can provide is that he had a medium build. >> it was dark, and they held a pillow over her face so she couldn't tell anything other
than it was obviously a man and she was raped. >> the case is dead on arrival until detectives hear about lowery's car crash. they're intrigued by the timing. the crash occurred at 3:36 a.m., 12 minutes after the rape. they think that perhaps lowery was making a getaway when he crashed. >> because of that, they zeroed in on him as a suspect. >> lowery says he's innocent. and says he was at his trailer most of the night. >> but i knew in my heart, i knew the truth. i had nothing to do with that and i didn't know anything about it, so i was going to tell them the truth and continue to tell them what happened that night. >> after an hour, lowery is taken home, but he agrees to come back the next day for a follow-up interview. >> again i continued to tell
them i had nothing to do with this, i'm innocent. went through my whole story again about what happened that night. >> it goes on like that for several hours. pointed questions and accusations followed by denials. after the sixth hour of interrogation, there's a turning point. lowery breaks down and confesses. he says he broke down the front door of the house and found the woman sleeping. he says he covered the woman's face, hit her in the head with the butt of a knife, and raped her. >> and that's when they stopped the interrogation and they actually arrested me for rape, aggravated burglary, and aggravated assault. >> the prosecutor pat caffey, kansas versus lowery, seems like an open-and-shut case. >> he never denied that he made the confession. there wasn't a situation where he said, no, i didn't really confess. this was -- he never said that.
i thought it was a solid confession and that he was guilty. >> but almost immediately, eddie lowery hires an attorney and recants the confession. >> he really didn't realize at that point the consequences of admitting to a crime that he didn't commit. i know that might sound really strange to people and particularly a jury. my opinion is that a jury has a real obstacle to overcome when a person admits to a crime and then later recants and said, no, i didn't do that. >> the trial begins on november 19th, 1981. though lowery's confession is the only clear evidence linking him to the rape, prosecutor pat caffey knows it's the best type of evidence to put before a jury. >> most of them are going to be thinking just like i think. i can't imagine a circumstance where i would admit to a rape. coming up, if lowery is innocent as he claims, why would
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in riley county, kansas, a young soldier named eddie lowery stands trial for the brutal rape of a 74-year-old woman. the case against him rests almost entirely on a confession. >> the forensic evidence wasn't there, and the only way they, in my opinion, that they were going to get a conviction was to get a confession. >> lowery takes the stand and testifies that the breaking point came during the second day of interrogation. when detective harry malugani, the veteran of the riley county police department suggested he take a lie detector test. >> and they kept on saying, well, if you don't have anything
to hide, this lie detector test is going to help you, it's going to clear your name, you'll be home by this afternoon. >> though he's eager to clear his name, lowery is nervous about the polygraph. he decides to lawyer up. >> it kind of set back malugani a little bit. he goes you don't need a lawyer right now. all we want to do is ask you questions. you're not under arrest so you don't need a lawyer. >> though police will later dispute this, lowery says his repeated requests for a lawyer were denied. >> i don't know. maybe i should have had more backbone and said, you know, i'm walking out of here and i'm leaving, but i was so naive about my rights. i didn't know my rights. >> raised in covina, california, in a family with eight children, lowery had a conventional childhood. he played football in high school and graduated before entering the army. he had never been inside an interrogation room. >> in a case like eddie's where
all of a sudden they tell you you can't have a lawyer, hey, gee, i thought that was part of the constitution. no, you can't have a lawyer. police officers in these situations can be extremely intimidating to the ordinary citizen. >> i was just trying so hard to prove -- convince them i didn't commit this crime that i went along with them and took the polygraph test. i figured i could pass it. >> though the polygraph results have been lost, this much is known. the examiner tells lowery that he flunked the test. >> mr. lowery goes, my results are saying that you're lying. my results say that you know this woman, that you raped her, that you were involved with this. and i am shocked. i'm like i can't believe this is happening. i can't believe that he's telling me i failed this polygraph test when i told him the truth. i didn't have anything to do with this. i don't know anything about this. >> when you tell him he fails, it's like an oh [ bleep ]. >> jace holt peter is a former nypd detective who is an expert in interrogations.
>> you just put them high down to low. i thought that was going to help me. i thought it was going to get me out, detective. i passed. i know i didn't do it. i had to pass. and you tell him you failed. i mean it's like another lock outside you hear that is being closed on you and you know you're staying now. >> i sat there for a few minutes and malugani walks up to the table where i was sitting and he goes, i got you now. i know you did this. he started pointing his fingers in my face. you'd better confess to this crime because i've got ten more years on this force. i'm going to prove you did this. he slammed his hands down on the desk and goes, i know you did this, mr. lowery. come clean with me. >> detectives doug johnson and harry malugani have colorful nicknames. johnson was mad dog and malugani was known as dirty harry. >> well, i assume it's from that movie with clint eastwood.
>> you've got to ask yourself one question. do i feel lucky? well do you, punk? >> he would start telling me that there's something wrong with me. i'm mentally -- something wrong with my head. by that time, i'm like -- i'm scared. i didn't know what to do. i'm crying. i got my -- i've got my arms folded like this on the desk and my head on my arms, and i'm crying. >> wear them down. wear them down to the point where their only way out of that room psychologically is to confess. >> so until about the eighth hour of this interrogation that day, i'm just so broken down i just kind of said, you know, what is it you want to know. malugani says, well, i want to know how you committed the crime, and i didn't know what to say. >> lowery says he drove up to a house in ogden and broke down the front door. >> what did you do after that? i said -- i couldn't think of
anything to say. he goes, did you grab a knife? i said, yeah, i grabbed a knife. the whole time he's asking me what happened after that. and giving me a choice of what i did. i was just agreeing to whatever he told me that i did. >> frankly, i think in some of those instances, they had given him choices about -- said did you do this or did you do this and he chose. he apparently chose the one that was actually factual. >> though parts of lowery's story are consistent with the crime scene, other facts are wrong. lowery says he broke down the front door. but, in fact, the intruder entered through the back. despite the inconsistencies, the confession has dug him deep. >> unless you were sitting there going through what i was going through, you'll never understand what i was facing at that time and what i was -- how i was -- what i was thinking my options were. and i thought the best thing to do was cooperate and tell them
what they wanted to hear and i would get a lawyer and prove my innocence. >> i'd say it's extremely short-sided because really all he has to say is i don't want to talk to you anymore. i just find it amazing that he would do that. >> amazing or not, lowery's argument convinces at least a few jurors as his first trial ends in a hung jury. but the second trial is different. the prosecutor argues it's easier to believe lowery's confession than to believe his recantation. >> did he lie and say that he did commit a brutal rape? or did he lie and say that he did not commit a brutal rape? which one is the lie? >> you've got somebody up there who's accused of raping an
elderly woman against two law-abiding detectives. who is the jury going to believe? i knew i was in trouble. coming up, the verdict. and later, an old envelope turns the case upside down. [ male announcer ] the new new york is open. open to innovation. open to ambition. open to bold ideas. that's why new york has a new plan -- dozens of tax free zones all across the state. move here, expand here, or start a new business here and pay no taxes for ten years... we're new york. if there's something that creates more jobs, and grows more businesses... we're open to it. start a tax-free business at startup-ny.com.
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january 7th, 1982, a jury returns a verdict in the rape trial of a young soldier. eddie james lowery is found guilty of rape, burglary, and aggravated battery. both the victim and the prosecutor are satisfied. they think eddie lowery should be off the streets. >> it appeared to be a situation where justice was done. >> lowery is sentenced to 13 years to life. he's hauled off to lansing correctional, the state's oldest and biggest prison for the worst of the worst. he is just 22 years old. >> i just kind of sunk. you know, i was like, you know, i can't believe this. you know, i just ruined my life and i'm accused of rape. i'm a sex offender. man, i thought my life was over. this is really one of the only times i thought about suicide. i was scared. i didn't know what to do. i was -- i didn't know if i was
going to make it in prison. >> in his first year behind bars, lowery loses everything in his life that has meaning. he's dishonorably discharged from the army. his family rarely visits. and then the final blow. a dear john letter from his wife. >> this is the last letter i'm going to send you. you'll never hear from me again. and she kept true to that. i never heard from her again. >> lowery's daughter amanda is 3 years old when he's arrested. with his imprisonment and divorce, she becomes nothing more than a memory. >> i had this one picture of amanda when she was in kindergarten. i put it in a special place, and, you know, that's all i saw of her. >> desperate for a meaningful relationship, he writes letters to amanda. >> i didn't think she was receiving them because i was getting no letters back from her
or anybody else. i was just thinking the worst, that they were probably getting the letters and just throwing them in the trash. >> another inmate suggests he write a journal to his daughter. he fills volumes. with time, the old eddie lowery dies and is reborn as prisoner number 37839. he gets big, gets tattooed, and learns to fit in. >> i got me a job in there working as a silk screen printer, printing neighborhood watch signs, you know, stop signs, and yield signs and things like that. >> after serving six years, lowery goes before the parole board, but parole is denied. the board insists parolees admit guilt and take responsibility for the crime. and that's one thing lowery won't do. >> i figured i was going to be
in there for life. you know, i just -- i just knew that i was going to be in there for life. i was walking one night. i was angry at god. if there's a god, why am i here? why did this happen to me? i just kind of prayed to myself. you know, god, if you're there, do something for me. you know i'm innocent. why am i here? why have i spent six years behind this prison wall for something i didn't do. if you're real, you need to show yourself to me. >> a short time later, lowery gets a call from the warden's office. he's moving out of the maximum security prison. >> i went from maximum all the way to the lowest custody. i'm in minimum. and they're going, we're going to ship you out to what they call the farm. >> with minimum security comes the freedom to occasionally venture beyond the prison walls. lowery even has a chance to play in a city softball league. while playing softball, he meets a young woman named teri. she recalls the first time they met. >> he's really nice.
just a really nice guy. too nice to be in prison. >> with teri, lowery can see a future beyond the prison walls. he comes up with a plan. if a lie is what got him in, a lie will get him out. >> it got me thinking. the only way i'm going to get out of here is go back to -- go to the parole board and complete all the programs they wanted -- they've been asking me to complete in order to get out of here and admit that i committed this crime. >> he submits to a battery of courses designed for hard-core sex offenders. >> it was very tough because i had to sit in there with a group of men in our group and admit that i committed this crime, share -- tell them how i committed this crime, and accept responsibility for this crime. i'd been in there approximately nine years at that time and knew that if i didn't do this, i was never going to get out of there and never see my daughter.
>> after completing a year of classes for sex offenders, lowery is eligible for parole. and in october 1991 he walks out of prison. >> it just felt good to be able to walk out and feel that freedom again, but i knew one day that, you know, somehow i was still going to have to prove my innocence. coming up, a lie got him in and a lie got him out, but how will eddie lowery set the record straight?
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escorted the koskt. earlier, thousands gathered for a ceremony there. mandela died this month at the age of 95 after a long illness. the global icon is being celebrated for forgiveness he fostered, even after being held in prison for 27 years by the apartheid system. a winter storm is being blamed for four deaths, from car crashes in missouri. the same system has dropped as much as a foot of snow on the northeast, cancelling nearly 1,200 flights. i'm veronica de la cruz, let's get you back to the program. in 1991, eddie lowery is paroled from prison. after serving nearly ten years behind bars for a rape he now
says he didn't commit. lowery moves to kansas city, missouri. he gets a job at a ford motor plant on the assembly line. he marries teri and starts a new family. buys a house in the suburbs. but still, he's a man with a past. >> my prison number is 37839. i know it like my social security number. you know, was known so long for that name. my first name was lowery. my last name was 37839. >> though lowery is out of prison, he's not free. in 1996, congress passes megan's law. it requires that the names and addresses of sex offenders be made available to the public. >> i was like, another bombshell to me. you know, i was like, now neighbors are going to find out. people are going to know that i'm a sex offender. it's going to be a hard life again. >> he didn't go to work for a
couple of days, and he never missed work. he actually just sat in the living room just kind of like in his chair just like this. like all day. >> the pain and humiliation is constant. it becomes unbearable one day every three months when lowery must report to the clay county sheriff's office to register as a sex offender. >> i would walk into the sheriff's office and look into the window and make sure it was empty before i walk in there and -- to register because i was so humiliated to walk in there and say, hey, you know, i'm here to register as a sex offender. and so i'd wait for it to clear out. sometimes i'd be up there 30, 45 minutes to an hour. and it was humiliating. >> lowery feels like a stranger in his own town. and the simple pleasures of being a father, things that so many take for granted, are held back from him. >> i couldn't coach my son's teams. i couldn't coach any of my daughter's soccer teams.
i love sports so much. i couldn't get involved with my son and my daughter the way i wanted to. >> the agony is made worse by the knowledge that one bad decision made under extreme pressure when he was just 22 years old has cost him so much. >> i tore myself up over the years about why i confessed, you know, why i dealt with it that way. i don't know why i did it. >> the dark period lasts for six years until lowery reads news reports about the efforts of the new york-based innocence project. >> i'd cut these articles out in the paper and bring them home and say to my wife, hey, hon', look. somebody else has been exonerated through dna testing. if we could find the evidence
from my trial, get it dna tested, this would prove my innocence. >> lowery reaches out to barry clark, a kansas lawyer who once worked with his first trial attorney back in 1981. >> i remember you telling me that you'd been hiding this thing for years. remember that? >> yeah. >> listening to him tell his story, you know, intuitively, i think, this guy is telling me the truth. and then when you think about the fact that if that evidence is tested and it confirms his guilt, all these doing is blowing his cover. i mean whatever privacy he had will be gone in a very, very public forum, so i knew he was telling the truth. >> barry clark has never worked a post-conviction dna case, but he's in luck. just a few days after this meeting -- >> we just had another case in tennessee. >> he attends a conference run by innocence project co-founder barry scheck. >> i went up, met him. he's a great guy. i explained my case to him. he looked at me and goes, oh,
that's a false confession case like he's seen dozens of them. i had no idea what a false confession case was. >> scheck tells clark that of the more than 270 people he's proven innocent, 25% made a false confession to a crime. >> innocent people, you know, can be intimidated. their will can be overborne, and they can be brought to falsely confess to a crime. you know, this has happened to soldiers. it's happened to all kinds of people from ordinary walks of life. >> from what clark is telling him about eddie lowery's case, scheck thinks he may, in fact, be innocent. >> the great thing about barry clark, you know, he's a really good lawyer. he's a very earnest, honest, straightforward guy, you know, an all-american guy like eddie in a way. and he says, i think he's
innocent. we've had enormous success with people who are on parole and are out of jail and they insist, i need that test to vindicate myself. >> in 1981 when the victim was raped, semen samples were taken from her body, clothing, and bed sheets. if those old samples can be found and if they haven't been ravaged by time, scientists can perform dna testing. since lowery is out of prison, he can't demand a test. he must ask for permission from the current riley county prosecutor bill kennedy. >> i remember distinctly we're out on the front steps of the courthouse having a five-minute conversation, and his response to my request was, if you think this guy didn't do it, let's get it tested. i'll help you. >> in this case, there was a clear, what i felt, yes or no. and it could set the question to
rest. it wasn't a legal question. it was a right-or-wrong question, and it seemed to me to be the right thing to do. >> there's just one little problem. no one knows where the evidence is. >> the evidence custodian at the time did a search and fairly quickly concluded they didn't have anything. it was all gone. coming up, if it weren't for bad luck, eddie lowery wouldn't have any luck at all. will he finally catch a break? new business owner, it would be one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up. be your partners best partner. we built it for our members, but it's open for everyone. there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. a body at rest tends to stay at rest...
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through drawers, files, boxes to no avail. then barry clark, one of lowery's lawyers, asks the riley county clerk to search one more time. >> and being the great lady she is, she said, sure. and she scrounged around the courthouse. >> a few days later in the back of a walk-in vault, the clerk gets on her hands and knees to reach an envelope hiding in a back corner. >> she called me and she said, i found an envelope tucked in the back of the vault where it has been sitting for 20 years. and in that envelope was a rape kit. it had everything we needed. >> in so many cases, we have initially been told, oh, that evidence is lost or destroyed because nobody had a system of preserving the evidence. >> that's when i felt the whole weight lift from me for the very first time. i just felt like i was finally digging myself out of this hole that had been buried in for so
long. it was a very -- i think that's one of the first times i ever really cried hard. >> scheck and clark tell lowery not to celebrate yet. the evidence has been sitting in an unrefrigerated vault for 20 years. time, heat, bacteria, any one of them might have destroyed the dna and with it lowery's hopes for clearing his name. the innocence project makes the decision to send the rape evidence to a lab outside of san francisco. dr. edward blake is known for his skill in teasing dna from even the oldest and smallest samples. >> is the relevant biology there so that something useful can be done with it? that's the thing i don't know when the evidence arrives.
>> dr. blake first examines the evidence, including bed sheets and swabs taken from the victim back in 1981. he finds that sperm cells are still present. blake extracts dna, amplifies it into a full profile, and compares it to eddie lowery's dna. >> and the result of that analysis eliminated him as a sperm source. no possibility whatsoever. >> after 20 years, eddie lowery has been vindicated. >> we wanted a finding from this court not just that eddie was not guilty and that the judgment should be vacated. we wanted a finding that he was actually innocent because he was. >> on april 3rd, 2003, district judge meryl wilson signs an order declaring eddie james lowery actually innocent. >> he totally gave my freedom back to me, you know, to do what
i want to, and, you know, that's the best feeling in the world. >> the victim of the rape passed away in 1992. in the twilight of her life, she thought eddie lowery was the man who brutalized her. she couldn't know that the real rapist was still on the loose. >> that's always been a hope of mine too. besides being exonerated was, you know, to completely convince everybody that i didn't do this, whether they believe in dna or not was to find the real perpetrator and convict him. >> for that, eddie lowery will have to wait six years. in may 2009 the fbi's dna database of convicted offenders turns up a cold hit. the rape evidence matches daniel brewer, a 53-year-old man living in the bronx.
>> you know, when i came back here to new york, i thought all this was over with, but i was wrong. >> as a young man, daniel brewer served in the army and was stationed in ft. riley in kansas at the same time eddie lowery was there. but he drank hard, was kicked out of the army, and spent time in prison for a cocaine conviction. today brewer suffers from advanced diabetes. he has lost both of his legs, his eyesight, and he needs dialysis three times a week to survive. >> i don't know why i lasted this long. >> brewer's pathetic condition is in stark contrast with the brutal crimes he's suspected of. innocence project lawyers soon learn that brewer was actually a suspect in four rapes during the spring and summer of 1981. two rapes occurred before the case of the 74-year-old victim. and one rape, the very next
night, july 27th, 1981. all of the crimes happened within a half-mile radius in ogden, kansas. >> it was outrageous that they didn't, a, see that from the point of view of good policing and even more outrageous they never disclosed that. that's classic exculpatory evidence that should have been disclosed, and they covered it all up. >> in fact, the innocence project learns that detectives harry malugani and doug johnson were interrogating eddie lowery the very same day daniel brewer was booked into county jail in connection with another rape, a rape with a similar m.o. in the same neighborhood. >> and here they have lowery where there's no evidence where he's guessing at details that they're feeding him, and they know all this information. i mean it's inexcusable. >> both the individual officers involved in the case and the
department itself declined repeated requests for interviews or a statement of any sort. on january 28th, 2010, nypd detectives along with agents of the kansas bureau of investigation knock on the door of daniel brewer. he's arrested for the 1981 rape of the 74-year-old woman and the rape of another woman in ogden three months prior. on july 15th, 2011, brewer pleads guilty. it's taken 30 years. but eddie lowery believes a crooked case has finally been made straight. >> and i'll never understand all this -- why this all happened and all that stuff. you know, but, you know, the whole thing is coming around full circle. coming up, lowery's reunion with the daughter who was lost to a wrongful conviction. ya know, with new fedex one rate
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is when eddie lowery was wrongfully convicted of rape, he lost ten years of his life to prison, followed by ten years of shame and humiliation as a registered sex offender. there may be no better illustration of lowery's loss than his relationship with his daughter. >> my name is amanda marie galvan. i am eddie james lowery's daughter. >> amanda was 3 years old when he went away. now she's 33. in the past few years, eddie and amanda have tried to establish a father/daughter relationship that never was. >> it's very hard. it feels like a completely different world. >> today amanda has flown in from her home in california to visit lowery for a weekend.
>> hey, sweetie. how are you? >> hi, dad. >> oh, man. it's good to see you. come on in. >> lowery has a surprise for her. something from his past. when he was in prison, his letters to amanda went completely unanswered. >> and one day this guy suggested that, you know, i write these journals, document my time in here and what i was thinking and talking to her. so i did that. >> he's kept the journals, handwritten on spiral notebooks for nearly 30 years, waiting for the right opportunity to give them. >> the journals, i just held on to them and held on to them, and so today i'd like to give you those journals. and i put them right here for you. >> oh, wow. >> just pull those out. >> oh, wow. >> so these are -- i wrote you letters. i've sent you gifts. i never forgot about your birthdays.
i never forgot about christmas. but i -- i didn't know how else to reach you. >> amanda tells eddie for the first time that she did receive his letters but her mother didn't allow her to write back. >> every time i read your letters, i loved getting them. it broke my heart because i always wanted you there, and you weren't. >> lowery hopes the journals will be another step along their road to recovery.
>> so i hope that these will help you and your healing, you know, with our relationship to let you know, you know, that i never forgot you. >> today eddie and amanda are trying to make up for lost time. >> there you go. good. >> but there's no way to get back 30 lost years or even to put a value on something so priceless. still, a civil suit filed after lowery's exoneration attempts to right the wrong. after dna testing links daniel brewer to the rape of the 74-year-old victim, a bombshell that reveals the extent of the police department's grave error. riley county, kansas, settles with lowery for $7.5 million. >> this money has helped me out a lot. and i've been able to help my kids out, you know, some cars and college and things like
that, but it will never -- no amount of money could ever pay me for what happened to me. you know, i don't care. you could offer me $10 million to relive all this again, and i would never take that. >> though the riley county police department never admits wrongdoing, the county releases a statement noting that some police interrogations are now videotaped. the detectives who coerced eddie lowery into falsely confessing, douglas johnson and harry malugani, have left kansas and are now retired from law enforcement. in depositions for the civil suit, doug johnson suggested perhaps eddie lowery was still involved with the rape. >> he was so defiant still at that time that he put the right person in prison that he started -- he made up an excuse how i could have been there. >> i still believe it's possible that he may have been at the scene or that he may have -- >> patrick caffey, the prosecutor who convicted lowery,
made a similar statement during msnbc's interview with him. >> maybe he did know something about the crime. i don't know. i don't know that. >> how would he know anything about the crime? >> well, you're asking me for speculation -- pure speculation here, but perhaps he was with the rapist. i don't know. >> barry scheck reacted strongly when told of the former prosecutor's statement. >> you're telling me that eddie lowery gave a false confession that he and he alone committed this crime and protected brewer, a serial rapist who was raping other people in the neighborhood? that's what you're telling me? then you've learned nothing. and that kind of prosecutor who refuses to learn anything, we don't need. >> you might say freedom is a theme for eddie lowery. today he lives in a town called liberty. and he's written a song about his life titled, what else,
"freedom." >> i write music and speak at different places, and people have asked me, you know, do i get bored? i'm never bored. i am enjoying life. >> i think among all the exonerees, there's a strong feeling, all this pain must have had a purpose. >> lowery says he's a much stronger person than he was before his wrongful conviction. the ordeal has given him a spiritual focus he didn't have before. >> what do you want on your hamburger? >> and he's a dedicated father to his college-aged son and daughter. remarkably, he doesn't dwell on the past. >> you know, i want to use my story and what happened to me in a positive way, in a way to encourage other people not to give up hope. to fight for their freedom. ♪ hold on set me free want to taste freedom ♪ ♪ freedom
>> it's been a long road for me, and it's been a very difficult road for me at times, but, you know, i just want -- i want to just use my story in a positive way. ♪ freedom purge on the right. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews back in washington. let me start tonight with the crazy way there week is ending. you heard the news from north korea how the young head of that country just executed his guardian uncle.