On December 20th 1990, John Brookins visited his friend Sheila Ginsberg’s house, to help her clean before the arrival of her son from out of town. Around 5 PM, John left to give his friend a ride to work. When he returned, he found Sheila’s daughter, Sharon, standing over her with a pair of scissors, stomping them into her chest, screaming that she had to die. Sharon fled the scene shortly after John’s arrival. John, a black man standing over a dead white woman, panicked and left the scene.
Months later, John was arrested for the murder of Ms. Ginsberg. The case was permeated by police misconduct, an ineffective display of counsel, and a clear absence of morality. Based on witness testimony from Sharon Ginsberg (a prostitute who had consistently harassed her mother for money to fuel her meth & crack cocaine addiction) and suspected planted DNA evidence, John was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He has been in prison for 28 years for a murder he did not commit.
Despite his imprisonment, the list of John’s accomplishments is long and he has had an impact on so many lives. He is a certified Yoga and Meditation Instructor and teaches classes to his fellow inmates, even working alongside the Department of Corrections to design classes. He creates workout programs to cater to the needs of his friends on the inside and the outside. He has worked in the prison kitchen and taught in the gardens before the prison ended their horticulture program. Above all, John is compassionate, kind, and deeply spiritual. To know him is to know someone who could contribute greatly to society upon his release.
There are many people on the outside who are waiting for John’s exoneration: his family, who have stood by him all these years, his loving wife Karen, and his hundreds of supporters all over the country, who hope that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections will finally put an end to this injustice. We hope they will not have to wait much longer.
John is represented by Craig M. Cooley, a former attorney for the Innocence Project, who have also signed on as co-counsel in the case, agreeing to pay for the DNA testing involved. This year, his case was taken up by the Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative, who helped to exonerate Valentino Dixon in 2018.
Please sign the petition to show your support for John and his innocence in an effort to #bringbrookinshome
For more information about John and his case visit www.bringbrookinshome.com