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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

April 2, 2014
Kate Andrews | Office of the Chancellor | 218 726-7005 |
Lori Melton | Communication Associate | External Affairs | 218 726-8830 |

UMD Overman Lecture: Attorney Ken Rose “The Bo Jones Story and My Fight to Save Death Row Inmates”

Ken Rose

Ken Rose

DULUTH, MN – Ken Rose, senior staff attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, N.C., will present “The Bo Jones Story and My Fight to Save Death Row Inmates” as part of The Ben & Jeanne Overman Distinguished Speaker Series on Wed., Apr. 16, at 7 pm in the 4th Floor Rotunda of the Kathryn A. Martin Library on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth. This event is free and open to the public.

In his role as senior staff attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, North Carolina, Ken Rose launched a decade-long defense of Bo Jones, who was convicted of capital murder in 1987 and ultimately exonerated. This is the subject of John Temple’s book, The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates.

Following graduation from Boston University Law School in 1981, Rose joined Team Defense Project in Atlanta where he represented clients facing capital punishment. In 1984 he moved to Mississippi, where he directed the Mississippi Capital Defense Resource Center and was one of a handful of lawyers representing death-sentenced inmates in capital post-conviction proceedings. In 1989, Rose went into private practice in Durham and continued to represent capital defendants. He became executive director of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in 1996 and served in that position for ten years.

The Ben and Jeanne Overman Distinguished Speaker Series

The goal of The Ben and Jeanne Overman Distinguished Speaker Series is to demonstrate the interrelationship of achieving success while providing sustenance to others in return.

This was the principle on which Ben and Jeanne Overman built their lives. Ben came to Superior, Wisconsin, from Russia when his father took work at a chair factory. His family lived in such poverty that it was necessary to heat their house with the coal dropped from trains. By the time he was 10, Ben was helping to support his family by selling newspapers. He became his family's primary provider, but still managed to find time to complete his schooling. Eventually Ben was able to learn the finance and real estate businesses from which his greatest financial success was later achieved.

Jeanne, too, grew up in poverty and began working at a young age. By the time she was a high school junior, she was working as a secretary at Diamond Tool company. Her excellent skills eventually earned her the position of executive secretary to Col. Henry, the longtime business manager of the Duluth Herald. She held this position for many years until she quit working to raise a family.

For 60 years, Jeanne and Ben built on their early successes and provided leadership to both the Twin Ports business and Jewish communities. Their efforts resulted in innumerable good deeds, among which was their donation of the original building to house what is now the Boys and Girls Club. Their generosity lives on today.

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