CHICAGO (CBS) — A 64-year-old man who was freed from prison last year, after prosecutors dropped charges in a 1982 double murder case, has filed a $40 million lawsuit against Northwestern University, accusing a former professor and his team of railroading him into a false confession.
Alstory Simon, 64, spent more than 15 years behind bars, after he confessed to killing Marilyn Green and her fiancé Jerry Hillard in 1982.
His videotaped confession led to authorities dropping charges against Anthony Porter, who was on death row in 1999, and less than 48 hours away from being executed before he was freed.
However, Simon 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.
He has sued the university, former professor David Protess, private investigator Paul Ciolino, and former Simon defense attorney Jack Rimland, seeking $40 million in damages.
“He needs to be compensated for having 16 years taken out of his life. Some of the best years of his life were spent incarcerated,” said Simon’s attorney, Terry Ekl.
Ekl and Simon have accused Ciolino — who was working for Protess when he taught an investigative journalism class at Northwestern — of using threats, intimidation, and false promises of money to get a false confession from Simon.
“The coercive tactics that were involved. The fact that the confession was, in fact false,” Ekl said.
Simon has said Ciolino put a gun to his head while questioning him about the case.
Simon was freed in October after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dropped charges.