26-Year Secret Kept Innocent Man In Prison

Lawyers Tell 60 Minutes They Were Legally Bound From Revealing Secret

Asked if they contemplated doing something about it, Coventry told Simon, "We wrote out an affidavit. We made an affidavit that we had gotten information through privileged sources, that Alton Logan was not in fact guilty of killing the officer, that in fact somebody else did it."

"We wanted to put in writing, to memorialize, you know, to get a notarized record of the fact that we had this information back then so that if, you know, 20 years later, 10 years later, if something allowed us to talk, as we are now, we could at least we we'd at least have an answer to someone who says, 'You're just making this up now,'" Kunz added.

They sealed the affidavit in an envelope and put the envelope in a lockbox to keep it safe under Coventry's bed.

While the attorneys kept silent about Logan's innocence, a jury convicted him of murder. Then the jurors had to decide whether to sentence him to death.

"I was in court the day they were dealing with the death penalty," Coventry recalled.

Asked why he went to court, he told Simon, "'Cause I had this information that this innocent guy was up there and the jury was deciding whether they're gonna kill him or not."

Coventry said his heart was racing when he went into the courtroom. "It was just creepy. Knowing I was looking at the jurors thinking, 'My God, they're going to decide to kill the wrong guy.'"

In the end, the jurors spared Logan's life.

"It was a 10 to 2 vote. Ten for, two against. Two individuals saved my life," Logan explained.

And the jurors saved Kunz and Coventry from coming forward. "We thought that somehow we would stop at least the execution. We weren't gonna let that go," Coventry told Simon.

"But instead he was sentenced to life in prison, and you did not do anything?" Simon asked.

"Right," Kunz said.

"So it's just okay to prevent his execution if necessary, but it was not okay to prevent his going to prison for the rest of his life?" Simon asked.

"Morally there's very little difference and were torn about that, but in terms of the canons of ethics, there is a difference, you can prevent a death," Coventry replied.

"But the minute he was not sentenced to death, the minute he was sentenced to life in prison, you decided to do nothing?" Simon asked.

"Yes," Kunz said. "I can't explain it. I don't know why that made the difference but I know it did."

"There is no difference between life in prison and a death penalty. None whatsoever. Both are a sentence of death," Logan told Simon.

Logan said while he could sympathize with the attorneys' problem of not being able to speak up, he couldn't understand it. "'Cause if you know this is an innocent person, why would you allow this person to be prosecuted, convicted, sent to prison for all these years?" he asked.

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