man declared innocent after spending 48 years in prison for murder

Glynn Simmons is the longest-serving person in American history before being exonerated.



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The entrance to a prison in McLoud, Oklahoma (United States), November 8, 2019. (Illustrative photo) (SUE OGROCKI / AP / SIPA)

His innocence was finally recognized. A 70-year-old African-American man was declared innocent by an Oklahoma court on Tuesday, December 19, after spending forty-eight years incarcerated for a murder he did not commit. Glynn Simmons was sentenced to death in 1975 for the murder of a 30-year-old liquor store clerk during a burglary in Edmond. Another man, Don Roberts, received the same sentence. Their sentence was later changed to life in prison, explains the BBC.

The conviction of the two men was decided on the basis of the simple testimony of a customer of the store. This victim, a teenager at the time of the incident, survived after being shot in the head during the burglary. At the time, she claimed, during an identification session, to have recognized Glynn Simmons and Don Roberts. During the trial, both men testified that they were not in Oklahoma on the day of the murder.

He can claim compensation

A subsequent investigation called this victim’s allegations into question. Don Roberts was released in 2008 and Glynn Simmons in July 2023, after spending forty-eight years, one month and eighteen days incarcerated. He had to wait five more months for an Oklahoma court to formally overturn his conviction. Glynn Simmons thus became the person who spent the longest time imprisoned before being exonerated in the history of the United States, according to the American National Registry of Exonerations.

“This is a day we have been waiting for for a long, long time. We can say that justice has been served today, finally.”

Glynn Simmons, exonerated

quoted by AFP

Glynn Simmons is now eligible for compensation. “What has been done has been done, but there must be accountability”he said.

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