A Chicago man who was wrongfully convicted of murder is set to be released Wednesday after serving 14 years of a 45 year sentence. Anthony Murray’s conviction was vacated in August after efforts by the Illinois Innocence Project (formerly the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project) revealed he was convicted based on ineffective assistance of counsel, reported the State Journal-Register.
Murray was convicted of stabbing the victim to death after a dice game. The Marion County Associate Judge ruled that Murray’s attorney made a mistake by calling a witness he knew would implicate his client. The judge determined that Murray may not have been convicted if the defense had never called on this particular witness.
After serving 14 years behind bars, Murray is eager to get home to his mother and family and accepted an alford plea, which allows defendants to assert their innocence, while conceding that the state has enough evidence to convict them. Murray accepted a plea to second-degree murder Tuesday and is to be released based on time served.
“Given new evidence of Anthony’s innocence, it is clear that Anthony was not even at the scene of the murder,” said Larry Golden, executive director of the Illinois Innocence Project. “The original conviction was an injustice that should never have occurred. While we are pleased that Anthony can walk out of prison, he should have been able to do so as a fully exonerated person. This is just another injustice allowed by a criminal justice system badly in need of reform.”
Read more from the Illinois Innocence Project.