Friday, March 8
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Indianapolis Liberation Center
1800 N. Meridian St., Suite 305
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Leon Benson spent almost 25 years imprisoned–10 of them in solitary confinement, considered a human rights abuse by the international community–for August 8, 1998 murder of Kasey Schoen in downtown Indianapolis. When he was 47-years-old, he walked out of the notorious Pendleton prison on March 9, 2023 as a free man exonerated on all charges.
He spent over half his life locked up for a crime he didn’t commit because the police intentionally withheld evidence indicating another shooter and eyewitness testimony contradicting the narrative they wanted to frame.
Now, for the first time since his exoneration, Benson returns to Indianapolis for a weekend of his “re-birth” not to condemn those individuals who stole decades of his life and deprived his daughter, family, and our entire community of his beaming and positive presence, but to shed light on the countless others who are still locked up based on wrongful convictions.
For the first of a two-day series titled, “Common unity: The re-birth of Leon Benson,” the Indianapolis Liberation Center is honored to host and moderate a special panel of a diverse range of voices, including:
- Leon Benson, Exonoree;
- Kolleen Schoen-Bunch, the sister of Kasey Schoen;
- Kelly Bauder, Representative from the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit;
- Community organizations that fought for Benson’s release while the system turned a blind eye;
- Relatives of the falsely imprisoned;
- Charlie Keever-Nelson, attorney and professor of the University of San Francisco School of Law;
- Derek R. Ford, Associate Professor and Chair of the Education Studies Department, Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at DePauw University, Co-Coordinator of Free Shaka Shakur;
- Shannon Coleman, a prisoner’s rights advocate.
The panel discussion, moderated by Indianapolis Liberation Center organizer Dani Abdullah, will detail the past but, more importantly, will focus on immediate and long-term steps for a future where what happened to Leon is impossible.
6:00 Doors open
6:45 Program starts
8:00-8:20:Presentations of awards/public acknowledgments
8:29-9:00: Food, drinks, photos, and socializing
* Stay tuned for exciting details about part two of the event!