Michael Saunders, Terrill Swift, Harold Richardson and Vincent Thames were officially exonerated today when prosecutors decided to drop the charges against them for a 1994 murder in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. The so-called “Englewood Four” were wrongfully convicted as teenagers based on their false confessions although DNA evidence always demonstrated that they could not have been the perpetrators.
Today’s decision comes after months of resistance from the State’s Attorney’s Office. DNA testing results implicating the real perpetrator, a convicted murderer, were released nearly a year ago. In spite of this overwhelming evidence of innocence, the prosecution stood by the convictions. Saunders and Richardson were released in November 2011 when a Chicago judge threw out the convictions. Swift and Thames were already released and living under strict regulation as registered sex offenders.
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