A 64-year-old man whose confession for a double homicide played a key role in Illinois eventually abolishing the death penalty has been freed.
Alstory Simon’s confession to the homicides led to the freeing of death row inmate Anthony Porter in 1999, and spurred the state to abolish the death penalty.
But after a re-examination of Simon’s case, Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez said she had no choice but to request that a judge vacate Simon’s murder and voluntary manslaughter conviction.
Simon was freed hours after a judge agreed to vacate the conviction.
Porter was originally convicted of shooting 17-year-old Jerry Hillard and 19-year-old Marilyn Green as they were sitting in a Chicago park. Porter was arrested days after the 1982 shooting. He was found guilty about a year later and ultimately sentenced to death.
But in 1998, a group of journalism students at Northwestern University led by professor David Protess began investigating the case. With the help of a private investigator, Paul Ciolino, they uncovered evidence and ultimately a videotape statement in which Simon admitted to the murder.
Source: USA Today | Aamer Madhani