Illinois Exoneree Is Pardoned


Marcus Lyons, who was cleared by DNA testing last year in a 20-year-old rape case, was finally pardoned by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Friday. Lyons served more than two years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit before he was released on parole. It would be another 16 years before his name was finally cleared by DNA testing.

Friday’s pardon means that Lyons is eligible to apply for compensation under

Illinois law

, which provides $85,350 to prisoners who served up to five years for crimes they didn’t commit.

Lyons was wrongfully convicted of a 1988 rape after the victim misidentified him. After he was released on parole in 1991, Lyons went to the courthouse in Wheaton, Illinois to protest the injustice he suffered. Dressed in his Navy uniform, Lyons attempted to nail himself to a cross made of railroad ties on the courthouse steps. He was convicted of three misdemeanors for the protest.

Fifteen years later, Lyons hired an attorney to seek DNA testing in his case in order to clear his name. The DNA test results proved that another man had committed the crime.

Read the full story here

. (Chicago Tribune, 12/20/08)


more about Lyons’ case

in our Know the Cases section.

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