Aaron Owens was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for two drug-related murders in Oakland in 1972 that he didn’t commit. The victims, Marie Collins and Stanley Bryant, were killed during what appeared to be a drug deal gone bad. Aaron and his co-defendant, Glenn Bailey, were convicted of the murders and sentenced to life in prison, based on the testimony of a friend of the victims, who was present during the murders. Insisting that he was innocent, Aaron befriended Bailey in prison, and after six years, Bailey finally told Aaron who his accomplice actually had been. Aaron contacted John Taylor, the prosecutor who had convicted him and who had gone into private practice, with the identity of Bailey’s partner, and Taylor began his own investigation. He discovered new evidence, including witnesses who testified that they had seen the actual accomplice in a car with Bailey before and after the murders. The actual accomplice bore a close physical resemblance to Aaron. The Alameda County District Attorney’s office had earlier re-opened the case, and when Taylor presented his evidence to the court, the same judge who had sentenced Aaron originally, overturned his sentence. Aaron was freed after spending eight years in prison. Aaron was convicted and sentenced during a period when California had eliminated the death penalty. He was told at his trial, that if the state could have executed him, he would have been sentenced to death instead.
Aaron lives in Stockton, and is available to speak in the San Joaquin Valley and in the San Francisco Bay Area.