Man freed after spending 50 years in prison for murder he didn't commit

Glynn Simmons, 71, was released in July Credit: GoFundMe

An American man has been declared innocent after spending nearly 50 years in prison for murder he didn't commit.

Glynn Simmons, 71, was released in July but found innocent on Tuesday, after serving 48 years, one month and 18 days since his conviction.

It makes him the longest imprisoned US inmate to be exonerated, according to data kept by The National Registry of Exonerations.

“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,” according to the ruling by Oklahoma County District Judge Amy Palumbo.

“It's a lesson in resilience and tenacity,” Mr Simmons said following the ruling. Don't let nobody tell you that it (exoneration) can't happen, because it really can.”

Mr Simmons has maintained his innocence, saying he was in Louisiana at the time of the 1974 murder of Carolyn Sue Rogers inside an Edmond liquor store.

He and co-defendant Don Roberts were both convicted in 1975 of the murder and initially sentenced to death.

Their sentences were reduced to life in prison in 1977 after US Supreme Court rulings related to capital punishment. Mr Roberts was released on parole in 2008.

Judge Palumbo in July ordered a new trial for Mr Simmons after District Attorney Vicki Behenna said prosecutors had failed to turn over evidence in the case, including a police report that showed an eyewitness might have identified other suspects in the case.

Ms Behenna in September said there is no longer physical evidence in the case against Mr Simmons and announced she would not retry him, though she opposed declaring him actually innocent.

The ruling makes Mr Simmons eligible for up to $175,000 (£138,000) in compensation from the state for wrongful conviction, his defense attorney said.

He is currently undergoing treatment for cancer that was detected after his release from prison.

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