At just 17-years-old, Sabrina Butler's 9-month-old son who had a heart condition, stopped breathing.
“When you're 17 and scared what are you supposed to do,” said Butler.
She tried to resuscitate him as she rushed him to the hospital. Doctors were not able to save him. The very next day, Butler was arrested for child abuse because of the bruises that were left by her resuscitation attempts. She was convicted of capital murder and was sentenced to death row. Butler explained, “Being on death row is no joke. To sit in a room knowing they are going to take your life, is the hardest thing. I wouldn't wish that on my enemy. I know I had God and one day the truth would come out.”
Five years later, Butler was exonerated and freed. The court said the prosecution didn't prove that the incident was anything more than an accident. She has since written a book about her experience. She also speaks to large groups across the country in hopes of abolishing the death row penalty. Her latest stop was St. Paul Newman Center, in Fresno.
“If they made the mistake with me, I'm sure there are a lot of people that need help and they have nobody else to speak to them so I feel like this is what I'm supposed to do,” said Butler.
She is also studying to be a criminal investigator. She hopes to help others and eliminate wrongful convictions once and for all. She said, “We as a people shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I was judged by my cover and the case was not done right. People are falsely accused of crimes every day. I think the justice system is flawed and it needs to be fixed. “
Sabrina Butler is now married and has two children. Her book is set to be released late September.
It's now believed that the baby may have died from either kidney disease or from sudden infant death syndrome.