(CBS) — Three Chicago-area men whose prison sentences in unrelated cases were commuted by Gov. Pat Quinn in the hours before he left office have been released on parole.

The releases all occurred between 4 and 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, at three different state prisons, about five hours after the paperwork cleared the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

The first to be released was 51-year-old Tyrone Hood, who had been sentenced to 50 years in prison for the 1993 murder of IIT basketball player Marshall Morgan Jr. Hood has steadfastly maintained his innocence, claiming that the evidence points toward Morgan’s father, who is serving a 75-year sentence for the murder of an ex-girlfriend, and whose fiance also met a violent death.

Hood’s attorney, Gayle Horn, said from downstate Menard that Hood’s legal team will continue to work for full exoneration.

Next to be released, from the Dixon prison, was 63-year-old Howard Morgan, a former Chicago police officer who was working as a railroad policeman when a 2005 traffic stop in the Lawndale neighborhood turned into a full shoot-out. Morgan claimed he was the victim of overzealous officers. He lived despite being shot by officers more than 25 times; he wounded three officers. Morgan was serving a 40-year sentence.

The 63-year-old former police officer needed a cane to walk out of prison, expressing his gratitude to former Governor Pat Quinn for his decision to commute his 40 year sentence.

“I thank God most of all and the governor for his foresight,” he said.

Morgan left Dixon surrounded by his wife and family who’ve been fighting to clear his name since his 2012 conviction for trying to kill 4 Chicago police officers during a traffic stop.

“My husband is not well, but I thank God that this day has come,” said Rosalind Morgan, Howard’s wife.

Morgan’s case has been controversial from its 2005 beginning. His supporters have argued missing and destroyed evidence, among other issues, raises serious doubts about his case.

“The head of the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago says that officers are angry and disappointed at Governor Quinn’s decision to release Morgan. He adds, “to say that we are disturbed is an understatement of utmost proportion.”

The family of 52-year-old Anthony Dansberry greeted him upon release from the Danville Correctional Center. He was convicted of murder on the strength of a questionable witness and a 1991 confession in the murder of a 77-year-old woman that he agreed to sign even though he was illiterate. He was serving a 50-year sentence and was not scheduled to be paroled until 2029.

Because Quinn commuted the sentences, instead of granting them clemency, the conviction remains in place and state law mandates three years of probation. Hood will be placed on electronic monitoring and both will have to meet regularly with parole officers. Aside from the probationary period mandated by law, Quinn’s action reduced the sentences to time served.