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OIP Exoneree Clarence Elkins Creates Clarence Elkins Scholarship for OIP Fellows


Clarence Elkins, who in 2005 was exonerated from a life sentence for murder by DNA testing with the help of the Ohio Innocence Project, has given a $5,000 gift to the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) which hopes to renew annually. With this gift the OIP will establish the Clarence Elkins Fellows, which will be awarded each year to the OIP team the staff determines has worked the hardest and most diligently on its cases. OIP students work in teams of two, and each student in the winning team will receive $1,000.

Said Elkins, "When I was in prison, seeing how hard the OIP students worked on my case inspired me and gave me hope, something I had not had for years. Whenever they came to visit me in prison, it was a blessing. I created this scholarship to reward the hardest working team of students in the OIP each year, and to inspire future OIP fellows to work as hard on their cases as the OIP fellows did on my case years ago."

Today, Elkins and his wife Molly split their time between their home in New Lexington, Ohio and their log cabin on 20 acres in New Philadelphia, Ohio. He has engaged in significant public speaking and public awareness efforts for the OIP. In fact, his lobbying efforts were instrumental in getting SB77 passed. SB77, often called the "model" Innocence Protection Act anywhere in the United States, was passed in 2010. It contains numerous reforms in police procedures that reduce the risk of wrongful conviction.

The OIP has helped more than 10 individuals obtain their freedom on grounds of innocence since its founding in 2003.