News broke in the fall of 2012 that a Minnesota law firm was integral in winning freedom for an innocent man sentenced to die in Louisiana. Minneapolis lawyer Steve Kaplan and former death-row inmate Damon Thibodeaux were making their way to Minnesota when I called to write a daily story about his case and his release after 16 years behind bars. Over the next three years, I conducted dozens of interviews, read court documents, culled newspaper stories and spent hours with Thibodeaux and his entourage of Minnesota supporters to document his troubled, troubling past and his tenacious pursuit of a life in freedom.

MARY LYNN SMITH