Innocent Black Man Spent 50 Years in Prison, His Compensation Will Annoy The Hell out of You

Photo: Doug Hoke/The Oklahomian (AP)
Photo: Doug Hoke/The Oklahomian (AP)

A man found guilty in a 1975 murder has spent what the National Registry of Exonerations calls the longest prison sentence on a wrongful conviction. Glynn Simmons, now 71 years old, was named a suspect in an armed robbery that left the clerk of a liquor store in Edmond, Okla. dead, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

A witness to the incident and a patron who was shot but survived both told the police they couldn’t make out who the robbers were. However, somehow Simmons ended up getting swept into a lineup and was charged with both robbery and capital murder.

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The ruling makes Simmons eligible for up to $175,000 in compensation from the state for wrongful conviction and opens the door for a federal lawsuit against Oklahoma City and law enforcement involved in Simmons’ arrest and conviction, defense attorney Joe Norwood said Wednesday.

Compensation, though, is likely years away, Norwood said and Simmons is currently living on donations while undergoing treatment for cancer that was detected after his release from prison.

Oklahoma law states that the maximum compensation an exonerated person can receive is $175,000. However, democratic state Rep. Cyndie Munson is behind a bill to change that to $50,000 for every year they spent in prison, per KOCO News. So far, 35 states have implemented this into law.

Until the bill becomes law, Mr. Simmons is living off GoFundMe donations which have now reach up to over $100,000, surpassing his goal of $50,000. Simmons plans to use the funds to put a roof over his head, clothes on his back, food and pay for the medical treatments he needs for liver cancer.

“I plan to use my remaining time to help others who are still stuck where I was. We need to fix this system so that what happened to me will never happen to anyone else, ever again!” Simmons’ donation page reads.

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