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Man Imprisoned For Nearly 50 Years Ruled Innocent by Oklahoma Judge

71-year-old Glynn Simmons was exonerated for a murder he was convicted of in 1975

After Glynn Simmons spent nearly 50 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, an Oklahoma judge ruled that the former prisoner is innocent. He is now officially a free man!

According to The Associated Press, 71-year-old Simmons was exonerated by Oklahoma County District Judge Amy Palumbo for a murder he was convicted of in 1975. He was released in July when prosecutors admitted that key evidence in his case was never given to his defense lawyers.

“This court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the offense for which Mr. Simmons was convicted, sentenced and imprisoned… was not committed by Mr. Simmons,” Palumbo said.

Simmons was in prison for a total of 48 years, one month, and 18 days. That sum makes him the longest-imprisoned U.S. inmate to be exonerated, based on data from The National Registry of Exonerations.

After the announcement of the judge’s ruling, Simmons spoke to the press.

“It’s a lesson in resilience, and tenacity. Don’t let nobody tell you that it [exoneration] can’t happen because it really can.”

In 1975, Simmons was convicted along with a co-defendant, Don Roberts, for the murder of Carolyn Sue Rogers, who was killed inside an Edmond liquor store in 1974. He always proclaimed his innocence, insisting he was in Louisiana at the time of the murder. He and Roberts, who was freed in 2008 when he was granted parole, were initially sentenced to death. Due to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977, their sentences were reduced to life in prison.

Palumbo ordered a new trial after District Attorney Vicki Behenna stated that prosecutors had not turned over evidence in the case, which included a police report that revealed that a witness may have pointed to other suspects. So in September, citing the fact that there was no physical evidence against Simmons, Behenna announced that he would not be retried, though she was against declaring him innocent.

Simmons started a GoFundMe to help with his financial needs and has collected nearly four times ($175,699) his original goal of $50,000.

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