Man Goes Free More Than 20 Years After Conviction For Deadly Fire

CHICAGO (CBS) — A man who spent 20 years in prison for allegedly setting a fire that killed two people has been set free, after prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charges against him.

Adam Gray walked out of prison on Wednesday, and said he’s still having a hard time believing he’s a free man, after spending more than half his life behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.

Standing with his attorneys Thursday morning, Gray expressed his gratitude for the team at Jenner & Block who helped him clear his name. He also thanked his family for believing in his innocence from day one.

Gray was only 14 – in 8th grade – when he was charged with starting an apartment fire which killed two people in 1993.

He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, based largely on a confession to police, but Gray maintained his innocence. He said he felt pressured to make that statement after detectives questioned him for seven hours.

“I spent several hours expressing my innocence to the cops. The cops weren’t trying to hear that. Anything that I said that wasn’t in sync with what they wanted me to say was dismissed,” he said.

Gray’s attorneys said his case took too long to resolve, and they credited new Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx for agreeing to dismiss the charges, after new evidence showed the fire was not deliberately set, and the original finding of arson was based on faulty science.

Gray said he has forgiven those who mishandled his case and now looks forward to reconnecting with friends and family.

Watch & Listen LIVE