US man declared innocent after 48 years in prison

0

A 70-year-old man who spent 48 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, Glynn Simmons, has been officially exonerated by an Oklahoma judge, marking the longest known wrongful sentence in the US.

In July, Mr. Simmons was released after a district court found that crucial evidence in his case had not been disclosed to his defense lawyers. On Monday, a county district attorney declared that there was insufficient evidence to warrant a new trial.

Judge Amy Palumbo issued an order on Tuesday, officially declaring Mr. Simmons innocent.

“This court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the offence for which Mr Simmons was convicted, sentenced and imprisoned… was not committed by Mr Simmons,” said Oklahoma County District Judge Palumbo in her ruling.

“It’s a lesson in resilience and tenacity,” Mr Simmons told reporters after the decision, according to the Associated Press. “Don’t let nobody tell you that it can’t happen, because it really can.”

Convicted in 1975 for the 1974 murder of Carolyn Sue Rogers during a liquor store robbery in an Oklahoma City suburb, Mr. Simmons served 48 years, one month, and 18 days in prison.

His co-defendant, Don Roberts, was also convicted, and both initially received death sentences, later reduced to life imprisonment due to US Supreme Court rulings on the death penalty.

Mr. Simmons consistently maintained his innocence, asserting he was in his home state of Louisiana at the time of the murder. The district court vacated his sentence in July, revealing that prosecutors had failed to disclose all evidence to defense lawyers, including a witness identifying other suspects.

Currently battling liver cancer, Mr. Simmons has been raising funds through GoFundMe to support his living costs and chemotherapy. His case underscores the perseverance and tenacity required in such challenging situations.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here