Meet the Exonerees

Isaac Knapper

State: Louisiana
Date of Birth:
Incident Date: 04/12/1979
Age at Arrest: 16
Conviction Date: 1979
Age When Exonerated: 29
Exonerated Date: 1991
Time Served: 12
Conviction: First-Degree Murder
False Confession: No
Implicated by Another Youth: Yes

Case Details

Sixteen-year-old Isaac Knapper grew up in the projects of New Orleans and had a juvenile record, but was determined to make something of himself. He had promising dreams of becoming an Olympic boxer. All that changed on April 12, 1979, when he was charged with the murder of Maine history professor Ronald Banks. Knapper’s alleged accomplice, fourteen-year-old Leroy Williams, implicated Knapper in the crime, helping the prosecution give Knapper a life sentence for first-degree murder. Only in 1991, after twelve years of wrongful imprisonment, was Knapper finally exonerated. Knapper was twenty-nine years old. Attorney Laurie White was able to gain Knapper's exoneration by proving that the prosecution had withheld police reports and witness accounts that may have cleared Knapper back in 1979. Knapper was denied monetary compensation for his time wrongfully incarcerated, and is still feeling the negative repercussions of his lost youth.