Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Alstory Simon Released from Prison after Serving 15 Years for Double Murder

Alstory Simon, who confession to a 1982 double homicide that helped free an inmate from death row in 1999, was released from prison last month. Simon was in prison for 15 years for the double murder, the same case in which Anthony Porter, an alleged neighborhood gang banger, was convicted and later freed.

The double homicide occurred 32 years ago and involved two teenagers, Jerry Hillard and Marilyn Green, being shot to death in a South Side park in Chicago. Porter was convicted, but two days from his scheduled execution, he was freed after Simon confessed, saying he did it in self-defense. Soon after being sentenced to prison, Simon said he was hoodwinked into confessing by a journalism professor, a private eye, and a defense attorney.

State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez (above), said that after a year-long investigation they realized that Simon's case is so deeply corroded and corrupt that restoring his freedom is the right thing to do. During a press conference, Alvarez said that Simon was victimized by former Northwestern journalism professor David Protess and private investigator Paul Ciolino, who hired an actor to pose as a supposed eyewitness to the murders.

“This investigation by David Protess and his team involved a series of alarming tactics that were not only coercive and absolutely unacceptable by law enforcement standards, they were potentially in violation of Mr. Simon’s constitutionally-protected rights,” said Alvarez. Simon’s attorney, Terry Ekl (above), voiced his opinion publically about who he thinks killed the two teens. “It is my opinion that the killer is Anthony Porter,” he said.

ABC 7 was unable to reach Protess, but they received a written statement from Ciolino who wrote that Simon didn't just confess to him, but also confessed to others, confessed in court, so, “explain that.” Whoever killed the two teens will likely remain a mystery. “I can't definitely tell you if it was Porter or Simon,” Alvarez said. “I’m just saying that based on the totality of the circumstances and the way I think Simon was coerced, in the interest of justice, this is the right thing to do.”

However, the evidence does lean heavily toward Porter (above in Falcons hat). Six eye witnesses gave statements to police and testified at trial that they saw Porter murder Green and Hillard, firing the gun with his left hand. Not one of those witnesses was interviewed by Protess team. Those same witnesses testified in Porter's wrongful conviction trial the exact same way. They saw Porter commit the murder firing a gun with his left hand. The judge ruled against Porter. The ruling, over forty pages long, states Porter was not wrongly convicted of murder.

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