were both 17 years old when the body of a 9-year-old girl was found in a Chicago alley. Based almost exclusively on the testimony of eyewitnesses, the two men were convicted of killing the girl and sentenced to serve more than 200 years in prison. They were convicted just months before Illinois reinstated the death penalty in 1977. Had the crime occurred later, they may have been executed before DNA testing could prove their innocence.
Instead, the pair served 26 years in prison for a murder they didn’t commit. Finally, in 2002, DNA test results proved their innocence, and they were officially exonerated on August 22, 2003.
Other exoneration anniversaries this week: