Book Review: Exoneree

Exoneree. Uriah Courtney with Glenda Mathes. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017. 221 pages.

Uriah Courtney was mistakenly identified and wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for eight years for kidnap and rape. His is a story of one unbearable trial after another and how the Lord used those trials to produce a very godly man.

Uriah grew up as a troubled young man in a broken home with very little exposure to the gospel. He drifted heavily into drugs, which defined his very existence.

While in the county jail awaiting trial, Uriah first heard the gospel from a husband-and-wife jail ministry team, and the Spirit began working in his heart. Later in prison, a deacon from Christ United Reformed Church of Santee, California, led Bible studies which Uriah attended. His life was renewed, and he faithfully strove to live accordingly in all of the trials he faced in prison.

After his arrest and in the county jail awaiting trial, DNA proved that Uriah had a son with the girlfriend he had lived with. She left him after he was sent to prison, and he only got to talk to his son on the phone. Uriah did not get to see his son then for seven years until after his release from prison.

The California Innocence Project eventually took on Uriah’s case and was instrumental in proving his innocence in 2013, through DNA testing. After Uriah’s release from prison he learned a skilled trade, became a member of Christ United Reformed Church, and got married. Like Joseph, Uriah’s testimony is “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good to bring about this present result.” He often mentions providence. Uriah was encouraged to share his story in a book, but he felt incapable of adequately writing. Providence also brought Glenda Mathes and Uriah together to share his remarkable story in this book. It is a book this reviewer could not put down.

Mr. Myron Rau is president of the Reformed Fellowship board.