Sad as 71-Year-Old Man Declared Innocent After 50 Years in Prison

Glynn Simmons, a 71-year-old African American man, has recently been declared innocent in the state of Oklahoma after enduring nearly five decades of imprisonment for a crime he did not commit.

The National Registry of Exonerations has reported that Simmons holds the record for serving the longest time behind bars before being exonerated in the history of the United States.

Back in 1975, Simmons, along with another individual named Don Roberts, faced a death sentence for the murder of a 30-year-old liquor store clerk during a robbery in Edmond, Oklahoma, the previous year. Their sentences were later commuted to life in prison.

The convictions were primarily based on the testimony of a teenage survivor of the robbery who had been shot in the head. She identified Simmons and Roberts in a police lineup, but subsequent investigations cast doubt on the reliability of her identifications.

Throughout the trial, both men consistently maintained their innocence, asserting that they were not present in Oklahoma at the time of the murder.

In a groundbreaking decision, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Palumbo overturned Simmons’ conviction in July. At a recent hearing in Oklahoma County District Court, she officially declared him innocent, marking the end of a long legal battle.

Simmons, released in July after spending a total of 48 years, one month, and 18 days behind bars, expressed his relief, stating, “This is a day we’ve been waiting on for a long, long time. We can say justice was done today, finally.”

While Simmons’ co-defendant, Don Roberts, was released from prison in 2008, Simmons, with his newfound innocence, may be eligible for compensation. Despite the irreversible nature of the past, Simmons acknowledges the importance of accountability, stating, “What’s been done can’t be undone, but there could be accountability. That’s what I’m about right now. Accountability.”