Exonerated man in Oklahoma finds life after prison
Re-entering society after more than 20 years in prison is no easy task, but one Oklahoma man is finding his way in the outside world and hoping to make an impact in the process.
It's been two years since a Tulsa judge exonerated De’Marchoe Carpenter and his accused accomplice, Malcolm Scott, of murder. Both men have since moved on with their lives; Scott lives in Houston and Carpenter in Edmond.
Carpenter's focus is now on the future, and finding ways to educate and empower young people.
In a YouTube video posted by Carpenter’s sister in 2013, Carpenter pleads his innocence from behind bars.
"I'm 36 years old. I have a life sentence plus 170 years for a murder I did not commit,” Carpenter says in the video.
Today, he’s still learning to adjust to life outside prison walls.
"Lot of people take things for granted out here,” Carpenter told FOX 25. “You know it's very beautiful out here, but, you know it's still a struggle because, you know, of course I missed out on, you know, my golden years."
Carpenter was 17-years-old when he was convicted of first-degree murder in the drive-by shooting death of 19-year-old Karen Summers. It's a crime he didn't commit and he would spend the next 20 years desperately trying to prove it.
"I wrote, literally, thousands and thousands of letters. I wrote everyone from Russell Westbrook to LeBron James to President Obama,” Carpenter said.
His case finally caught the attention of the Oklahoma Innocence Project. But freedom never felt within reach, until convicted killer Michael Lee Wilson decided to clear his conscience before his execution in 2014.
Carpenter was released and cleared of any wrongdoing two years later. He has since married his high school sweetheart, become the co-host of a podcast called “Buried Alive” and spends a lot of his time speaking to area kids.
In the future, he hopes to create a local youth foundation.
"When I was growing up, you know, I didn't have a father in my life. So, it's a lot of kids that don't have fathers in their lives, and you know, I'm hoping to provide some guidance in their lives,” Carpenter said.
At the very least, he wants to teach them that the truth will set you free.