Insights and Tributes

Here are some leaders and supporters of Channen’s cause. We thank you for all you’ve done.

Shelley Ware 

Member of the NAACP Legal Redress Committee, Social Workers, and Activist 

I have been working with Channen since August 2021. I have read through the entire trial transcript and I know that the state of Oklahoma imprisoned the wrong man. This was a gang related shooting in retaliation for a gang fight that happened the night before the incident. Absolutely none of the evidence points to Channen. The actual shooter came forward and confessed in 2017 to clear his conscience while he lay dying of cancer. He was involved in the physical altercation the night before, gave intimate details of how he shot both victims, the location of the murder weapon-which was never recovered- and the SUV used in the shooting was tied to him. Four additional people have come forward and corroborated this confession.

Channen has never been in a gang. He is a Christian and has been a leader from a young age. As an eagle scout, he mentored other boy scouts in North Tulsa and was the sole recipient out of 3000 boys of an award for leadership in the scouts. Although he has made some mistakes in his life, he is not a murderer. He is 100% innocent of this crime.

Robert Mann

Former chair of the Criminal Justice Committee for the NAACP, Tulsa Chapter, and second VP of the NAAP, founding partner of the Client Advocate Group managing criminal attorneys

I have fully investigated Mr Channen Smith’s case and he is factually innocent. I grew up in the streets that claimed Mr Smith’s freedom. I personally know several people who know every person involved in this case. We are building a clean chain of testimony and evidence that will prove his innocence.

Malcolm McCollum

Criminal Defense Investigator, freelance Journalist 

A retired writing teacher, freelance journalist, and criminal defense investigator, I was introduced to Channen Smith’s case in November 2022, and I’ve spent much of my time since then looking into the transcript of his trial and of his various appeals and at such police reports as are, so far, available. I now believe that Channen was convicted, after a very poor police investigation, almost entirely on the basis of the often-changing testimony of two frequently convicted gang members. Since his conviction, another gang member has confessed, on his death bed, to the shooting for which Channen Smith is still serving time. The District Court has refused to hear the affidavits of four people attesting to hearing the confession or knowing its truth. I hope to live long enough to see Channen cleared and released to resume what had been an admirable life.

Eric Stephenson 

Publisher and Editor

One of our first articles at Veteran Writers Network, written by Malcolm McCollum, focuses on a largely ignored potential legal injustice. Channen Smith was 21 years old when he was jailed for the shootings of two gang members, one fatal, of which he was later convicted and imprisoned. Smith was a member of no gang, gainfully employed, and helping to support his mother and sisters. He was convicted almost entirely on the basis of the testimony of oft-convicted criminal snitches. Years later, a member of another gang confessed, on his death bed, to the shootings, a confession supported by the affidavits of four friends and family members. Presented with this confession in an appeal, the Oklahoma District Court refused to hear it. Estimates of the wrongfully imprisoned among the U.S. prison population range from 1 to 6%. Channen Smith is one of them. He has been jailed or imprisoned since 2010. Just click on the link below to read the article. You’ll certainly find it interesting. It just might make your blood boil.

Wrongful convictions are more common than is generally understood.

Help Channen's cause. Please donate. Assist Channen and his family in the fight to free him. Give what you can. Thank you.