UPDATE: February 7, 2024. Having paid off the balance due with Oakey's funeral service, further funds raised will go towards some small debts Mike had with his landlord and a friend, unless such is forgive. From there, assuming the fund continues to grow, we will begin to also help others in similar situations. At some point soon we hope to organize a memorial event via zoom, during which time we might invite additional donations towards helping other death row survivors who are struggling to make ends meet, in Mike's memory. If that idea appeals to you, please donate generously!
Special thanks to Mike's attorney, John Hodridge, and to Witness to Innocence, each of whom contributed $1,000!
UPDATE: January 29, 2023. A memorial service will be announced at a later date. OBITUARY for Michael Graham Jr.
UPDATE: JANUARY 23, 2024. We are saddened to share that Michael Graham has passed away, peacefully in his bed. Michael left a few bills, and we are hoping to even it out so that his parting leaves no negatives. Michael was three months behind on his rent and when I last spoke with him we were making a plan to tackle that. We are also raising funds to cover cremation & funeral home costs.
NOTE: Additional funds raised beyond these immediate needs will become The Michael Graham Legacy Fund, to be used to help other exonerated death row survivors. Please chip in (again) using this link: https://gofund.me/5d939854
ALSO - the first $3700 of the total funds raised on this page were donated and spent over the past seven months, helping Mike with rent, food, utility bills, and medical expenses while he continued to wait for state assistance which still has not been approved. The problem is that GoFundMe makes it look like you are sitting on a big pile of cash, when in reality that money has already been spent. We decided to repurpose this fund raiser rather than start a new one. Below is what Mike wrote for the previous purpose.
RIP Michael Graham.
Hi my name is Michael Graham, I am a former death row prisoner who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death. I was on death row for 14 years and because of bad rulings in Louisiana I was never compensated for the time I spent on death row in Angola. Since my release my parents passed away as well as my fiance, who I recently lost to cancer.
I recently lost my job that I loved, making windows for Cardinal Glass. My health has taken a bad turn when I was diagnosed with severe COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). COPD is is a constriction to your airway to breathe. I have it severely. I go through 2 rescue inhalers a month which is not good. I can walk from my bedroom to the kitchen and be gasping for breath. Some days are better than others. It changes your entire life. I am very hyper even at 59 and that makes it worse because my mind wants to do things but my body won't allow it. I have a appointment with my doctor next week and we will try to get some sort of oxygen going for me. My regular doctor can't do anything, but the breathing specialist will know better how to treat this.
I can no longer work and had to file for disability. I have sold everything of worth that I have to try to make ends meet. I'm doing something that breaks my heart to do and that is ask for help. I thank you from the bottom of my heart if there is anything you can do to help. Prayers are very much appreciated as I know they work.
Peace and Love,
Michael Graham served 14 years on death row in Louisianna for a crime he had nothing to do with. He writes: "When I got out I moved back to Virginia, got a job and was living my life. But my health has taken a turn for the worse and I had to file for disability. I am currently unemployed because of my disability and am struggling to keep my head above water. I have been selling off all my belongings just to make rent. Any help would be greatly appreciated."
We've set a larger goal than just what Michael needs in this moment, because like most exonerated death row survivors, he received no apology and no compensation. No one should have to live in such uncertainty.
NOTE: Full disclosure: This is a continuation of a previous GoFundMe effort for Michael which raised over $6,000 for his ongoing needs. The problem is that GoFundMe makes it look like you are sitting on a big pile of cash, when in reality that money has already been spent. So, we're startiing over, because Michael has ongoing needs.