Richard Phillips, a tall, broad-shouldered man, has a habit of humming to himself. It’s a deep, soulful sound that he began doing when he was a young boy. It proved useful when he was in prison. Music, in general, helped him through those long years – 46 to be exact. In fact, just two days after being sentenced to life in prison in 1972, he wrote a poem. Likely the first poem he ever wrote.
He was 26 years old at the time and knew the only way he’d ever return to his children and his previous life was to somehow prove his innocence. The problem was that he was serving a life sentence for a murder he never committed. He was convicted of the 1971 murder of Gregory Harris in Detroit, yet Phillips always maintained his innocence. With one failed appeal after another, he was getting nowhere. That is until the man that put him in prison in the first place finally spoke up.