CHICAGO, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Alstory Simon, a Cook County inmate serving a 37-year sentence since 1999, was released from prison after a judge determined he was coerced into giving a false confession.
Simon's 1999 confession to a 1982 double murder led to the release of Anthony Porter, who was also wrongfully convicted for the crime and had been on death row for 16 years.
"The bottom line is that the investigation ... as well as the subsequent legal representation of Mr. Simon was so flawed that it's clear the constitutional rights of Mr. Simon were not protected as our law requires," Cook County state's attorney Anita Alvarez said, reports USA Today.
"This conviction, therefore cannot stand."
Simon says he was coerced by a private investigator into fictionalizing a confession in return for a short a sentence and money from movie and book deals about Porter's wrongful conviction. Porter's release from death row led then-Gov. George Ryan to suspend all executions in Illinois. Twelve years later Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty in the state.
"Porter was close to being executed for a, quote, 'crime he didn't commit,'" Simon's defense attorney explained to CBS Chicago.
"Porter was the lynchpin for a lot of the actions that subsequently occurred, so they were vested in finding someone to replace Porter as the person who did that murder.That's what I think the motive; that's my opinion, that was the motive behind this."