Dewey case inspires German songwriter
German singer, songwriter and guitarist Nikko Moss was unimpressed with a diet of Yahoo news headlines May 2, which Moss recalled as a collection of “banal articles about baby bumps and fashion trends.”
But one story she read that day with a Grand Junction, Colorado, USA, dateline grabbed her attention and hasn’t let go.
The Mesa County tale of 51-year-old Robert Dewey went on to inspire music in Germany.
“What struck me more than anything and what became the catalyst of the song was his expression of non-anger,” Moss, half of the Berlin-based band, “Courage + Craft,” said in a recent exchange of emails.
That same day she read the article, Moss penned a tribute for Dewey, the man freed from prison April 30, nearly 16 years after Dewey’s wrongful conviction in the murder of 19-year-old Jacie Taylor in Palisade. Dewey was cleared after modern DNA showed he wasn’t at the scene of Taylor’s murder, while also pointing to a new suspect in the case.
Moss and guitarist Frank Engelmann recorded “Ride On” in tribute to Dewey. Clips of the band’s performances of the song are posted at youtube.com.
“I wrote the song, literally in tears in my living room, sending my prayers and good will to him and wishing that he could just “Ride On” into the sunset on his bike, feeling the wind in his hair, smelling the smells and hearing the sounds that we all take for granted every day,” Moss said. “In the article he said he was not mad because it would do him no good and that he just wanted to ‘touch a tree, get a dog, kiss his girl ... which made the injustice so much stronger for me because here was not only an innocent man, but a peaceful innocent man.”
Dewey has said his love of motorcycles helped sustain him over the years in prison.
“When asked,” an investigator wrote in a court record, “why he (Dewey) isn’t more upset about being in prison for a homicide he didn’t commit, Mr. Dewey said that being upset would not help him deal with being in prison and that he dealt with the situation by ‘going to my happy place,’ riding his motorcycle into a beautiful sunset.”