Warren McCleskey in Jackson, Ga., on September 20, 1991, five days before his execution
(AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Actual audio recording from McClesky’s execution.


On September 25, 1991, Warren McCleskey, an African American death-row inmate whose case twice made U.S. Supreme Court history, was executed in a Georgia-state electric chair.

His landmark case captured the attention of notable figures such as Nelson Mandela and Coretta Scott King, both of whom petitioned for McCleskey’s clemency. 

His death was considered a miscarriage of justice by capital law experts.

Shortly before his controversial execution, Warren became an unlikely friend to Michael, a troubled, white teenager. 

Through a series of transformative letters that prompted an unprecedented and life-changing prison visit, Warren introduced Michael to the redemptive power of grace: the governing force which discerns that all human beings—the forgotten, the misunderstood, the ignored, and the unforgiven—despite their terrible mistakes, have one need in common, to be loved.

Warren McCleskey’s life—and death—are the inspirations for McCleskey, a film currently in development.

Set against the brazen misconduct of our contemporary legal system, the story explores the relationship between two disparate men, the undying quest for justice and the improbable ways in which we discover hope.