Saturday, November 26, 2011

IL: Two men angry over what they say is wrongful murder conviction

Harold Richardson and Michael Saunders didn’t mince words about how miserable they felt for what they say is their wrongful conviction. “I’m mad as a m----------- right now,” Richardson, 33, said Friday — his first day of freedom after 17 years in prison for the 1994 murder and rape of Nina Glover. “I lost the Christmas spirit, all of that [while I was incarcerated]. I’m hoping to get it back now.”

Saunders, who also spent 17 years behind bars for the prostitute’s slaying in Englewood, said he’d be lying if said he wasn’t bitter. “I’m very, very angry,” the 32-year-old told reporters outside Cook County Jail. “There’s a lot of resentment.”

On Wednesday, Criminal Court Presiding Judge Paul Biebel Jr. tossed out the men’s convictions and ordered a new trial for them and two others. Biebel, in his ruling, cited mostly new evidence that linked dead felon Johnny Douglas’ DNA to Glover’s body.

Officials with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said they were reviewing the judge’s order. But Saunders expects that prosecutors will eventually recommend that the charges be dropped.

“The proof is already in the pudding. Everyone knows we didn’t commit this crime, and we’re just waiting for our day in court for us to be vindicated,” he said. “I’m here for the long haul.”

Saunders, who said he was beaten into confessing to the crime, said he wanted to enjoy the day and spend time with his 17-year-old daughter.

Richardson said he was planning “to chill” with family, friends and lawyers later in the evening.

Despite their anger and bitterness, both men had smiles on their faces Friday. “It’s a new beginning, man, and I’m just happy to be free,” Saunders said. “This is the most beautiful day of my life. …Words can’t describe how I’m feeling.”

Terrill Swift, 34, and Vincent Thames, 34, have already been released after serving more than a dozen years for the crime.

Original report here

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