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Glynn Simmons exonerated after wrongful murder conviction

A 71-year-old Oklahoma man who spent nearly 50 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit was acquitted by a judge Wednesday.

Former death row inmate Glynn Simmons was initially released in July after prosecutors agreed that key evidence in his case had not been turned over to the defense.

Finally, he was officially found not guilty.

“This court finds that the crimes for which Mr. Simmons was convicted, sentenced, and imprisoned…were not committed by Mr. Simmons,” Oklahoma County District Judge Amy Palumbo said in her ruling. “This finding was based on clear and convincing evidence.”

Simmons spent 48 years, one month, and 18 days in prison after being convicted of murder for the 1974 murder of Carolyn Sue Rogers.

He is the longest exonerated prisoner in U.S. history. According to the data Compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations.

Glynn Simmons holds up his arm outside the Oklahoma County Courthouse after being wrongfully imprisoned for more than 48 years. AP

After the judge's ruling, Simmons raised his arms in celebration outside the courthouse.

He told reporters he felt vindicated because he endured decades in prison to prove his innocence.

“This is a lesson in resilience and perseverance,” Simmons said. “Don't let anyone tell you that it can't happen. It really can happen.”

It has been revealed that prosecutors withheld evidence from the defense during Simmons' murder trial. AP

During his trial and incarceration, Simmons maintained that he was in Louisiana when Rogers was shot and killed at an Edmond liquor store.

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

The death penalty was later commuted to life imprisonment in 1977 following a Supreme Court ruling on the death penalty.

Glyn Simmons was released in July. AP

Roberts was paroled in 2008, but Simmons remained incarcerated.

In July, District Attorney Vicki Behenna revealed that prosecutors had withheld evidence from the defense in the case, including a police report in which witnesses may have identified other suspects. After the trial, Palumbo ordered a new trial for Simmons.

Behenna said in September that there was no physical evidence linking Simmons to the crime scene and the case would not be retried.

Although Simmons is finally free, he is living off donations from a GoFundMe campaign, defense attorney Joe Norwood said Wednesday.

Simmons was convicted of murdering a woman at a liquor store in 1974. AP

Norwood said his client is eligible to receive up to $175,000 in damages from the state for his wrongful conviction and has filed a federal lawsuit against Oklahoma City and the authorities involved in his arrest and conviction. He said that it could cause.

But lawyers say it will likely be several years before that money is available.

“It's not certain he'll get compensation, but that's in the future and he has to support himself now,” Norwood said.

with post wire