THE ISSUE: Caravella finds support.
Sun Sentinel Editorial Board
September 22, 2009
If you have started to lose faith in your fellow man, if you have witnessed too much uncivil behavior lately, the saga of Anthony Caravella should give you a lift.
It was good enough that the 41-year-old Davie man got released this month from prison last week after a DNA test cast grave doubt on his conviction — and life sentence — for a rape and murder in Miramar in 1983.
But now South Floridians have been coming forth with offers to help Caravella try to start rebuilding his life after spending 26 years in prison for what appears to be a horrible crime he did not commit.
People who surely have their own economic problems these days have come forth to offer cash, clothing, shoes, gift cards, jobs, even removal of the tattoos that are memorials to his dead mother and sister. Other strangers have come forward with offers of Miami Dolphins gear and tickets for him and McDonald's gift certificates — even trips to Disney World.
Just as heartwarming have been the e-mails and calls from people in the area offering support, saying that Caravella's story — he has an IQ of 67, and his defense has claimed his confession was coerced and beaten out of him — has brought them to tears. Theyare happy that justice has seemingly prevailed, in part through the years-long persistence of his attorney, Chief Assistant Public Defender Diane Cuddihy, and Sun Sentinel reporter Paula McMahon.
The legal battle is not yet officially over, although a request has been filed asking a Broward judge to exonerate Caravella and permanently free him.
If and when that happens, it surely will take Caravella a while to get eased back into society. But thankfully, it appears that society is lot more welcoming to him than he might have imagined.
BOTTOM LINE: Many strangers offering help.