‘Proving Innocence’ Podcast, Episode 3: Gentle Giant Finally Free

Author: Brendan O'Shaughnessy

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Andy Royer confessed in 2003 to strangling a 94-year-old woman who lived in his apartment building in Elkhart, Indiana. But Royer, who has mental challenges that make him seem childlike despite his huge size, then asked if he could just go home.

Confessions are convincing to juries. Most people are surprised to learn that they are sometimes given by the innocent. Royer was convicted and given a sentence of 55 years. After three earlier attempts failed, the Exoneration Justice Clinic in April won his release after 16 years — the first of what law students and faculty leaders hope are a string of successful petitions.

In the third episode of “Proving Innocence,” we hear about Royer’s legal troubles from his mother, himself and his attorney. But our main guide is Notre Dame Law School graduate Paula Ortiz Cardona ’20 J.D., who worked on his case during her three years on campus.