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Man, 71, exonerated after 48 years in prison for crime he didn’t commit

Simmons' ordeal dates back to 1975 when he and co-defendant Don Roberts were sentenced to death for the murder of a liquor store clerk during a robbery in Edmond, Oklahoma.

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Man, 71, exonerated after 48 years in prison for crime he didn’t commit

Story from Fatima Adamu, Abuja

In a groundbreaking development, Glynn Simmons, a 71-year-old African American man, has been declared innocent after spending an astonishing 48 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

This unprecedented exoneration, recorded by The National Registry of Exonerations, surpasses the previous longest duration behind bars before innocence was recognised.

The case hinged on the testimony of a teenage witness who had also been victimized in the incident. However, doubts emerged regarding the reliability of her identifications during a subsequent investigation, casting serious doubts over the integrity of the convictions.

Simmons and Roberts maintained their innocence, insisting that they were not present in Oklahoma at the time of the crime. After years of legal battles and tireless efforts by defense teams, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Palumbo overturned Simmons’ conviction in July, finally bringing an end to almost five decades of judicial error.

“This is a day we’ve been waiting on for a long, long time,” Simmons told reporters. “We can say justice was done today, finally.” Roberts, Simmons’ co-defendant, had previously been released from prison in 2008. With the verdict now reflecting the truth, Simmons may be eligible for compensation, although he acknowledges that no legal remedy can fully reverse the years of lost freedom.

READ ALSO: Chrisland School exonerates self in death of 12-year-old Lagos student

As Simmons steps into newfound freedom, his story serves as a stark reminder of the systemic flaws within the justice system and the enduring need for accountability. The lengthy legal battle highlights the resilience of individuals determined to expose and rectify the injustices that persist within the corridors of the legal system.

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