Updated 10/30/14 – 1:38 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — In another stunning reversal in a 1982 double murder, Cook County prosecutors have thrown out the conviction of 64-year-old Alstory Simon, whose videotaped confession freed Anthony Porter from death row in 1999, approximately 48 hours before Porter was to be executed.READ MORE: UIC Receives $6 Million Grant From Federal Government To Test VT-109, Drug To Treat Severe Lung Complications From COVID-19
A Cook County judge granted prosecutors’ request to order Simon’s immediate release from the Jacksonville Correctional Center on Thursday, after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office asked to have Simon’s conviction vacated.
Upon leaving prison, Simon told reporters: “When I first came in here, I was very bitter. A person would say hello to me, and I would cuss them out and get in a fight, you know. Then I thought, I got to let that go.”
Simon confessed to the 1982 murders of Marilyn Green and her fiancé Jerry Hillard, but has since claimed he only confessed and pleaded guilty because he was told he’d serve a short time in prison, and would get rich from book and movie deals. He was sentenced to 37 years in prison, but later recanted.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez began reviewing Simon’s conviction last year, after he claimed his confession was coerced by private investigator Paul Ciolino, who was working for Northwestern University professor David Protess and the school’s Medill Innocence Project, which helped get Porter freed thanks to Simon’s confession.