Media amplifies Leon Benson’s return, highlights the wrongfully convicted

On Friday, March 8, Leon Benson returned to Indianapolis for the first time since his exoneration for a 1998 murder for which he served 25 years in prison, 10 of which were spent in solitary confinement. To celebrate Benson’s “re-birth,” he collaborated with local grassroots organizations, including the Indianapolis Liberation Center, for a two-day series of events, titled “Common unity: Leon Benson’s re-birth.” The celebration took place exactly one year after his liberation from prison on March 9, 2023. The day after his panel and book launch, the community came out to a concert where our people got to see EL BENTLY 448 perform songs from his debut and forthcoming records.

Watch Benson sit down with Indianapolis news outlets to discuss his incarceration, exoneration, and thinking behind the historic events. National media have already picked up his appearance on FOX59.

Benson on Fox59

Benson on WTHR

Benson on WRTV

Coverage from Black Indy LIVE

Black Indy LIVE covered Benson’s return with a graphic and the following text:

Welcome Home LEON!!! After being imprisoned 25 years for a murder he did not commit — including 10 years in solitary confinement — Leon Benson has been officially cleared of the 1998 slaying of Kasey Shoen in downtown Indianapolis.

Benson became the first person ever exonerated of a crime with the assistance of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office Conviction Integrity unit. His conviction was vacated by a Marion County judge after a joint re-investigation by the University of San Francisco School of Law Racial Justice Clinic (USFCA) and the Conviction Integrity Unit.

Leon celebrated his new freedom with a “Rebirth Celebration” at the Indy Liberation Center, where he also released his new book “Lessons of Gratitude: I Am Because We Are.” He also said his exoneration has given him a new purpose in life… “I would be less than who I am if I didn’t come put a light on it and represent those people who are still out there. Those brothers that are behind walls, that’s yelling out, that’s not being heard, who has been invisible. I’m no longer invisible. My chain is gone” Benson told reporters… Give Leon a warm welcome back home and show him some love below for receiving his justice!

Indianapolis will always celebrate Leon

Benson didn’t hold these events to lament the decades stolen from his life, but rather to bring light to the similar struggle countless incarcerated individuals, their family, and their communities face every day and to celebrate the decades he still has ahead of him.

Benson’s new book, Letters of gratitude: I am because we are, was published by Iskra Books on March 8. The book is available for purchase at all major bookstores and at the Indianapolis Liberation Center. Like the rest of the books in their catalogue, Iskra also made it available as a free high-quality PDF!

Featured photo: Leon Benson and Angela Ganote during their FOX59 interview. Credit: Leon Benson.