Chicago (AP) — A former Illinois convict on death row who motivated the state to end the death penalty has died, his lawyer announced Wednesday.
Jim Montgomery said WBBM radio The Anthony Porter, 66, died this week. The Cook County Medical Inspector’s Office said Porter died of “anaerobic brain injury, possible opioid toxicity” and determined the death to be an accident.
Porter was exonerated in 1999 and released from prison after another man confessed on August 15, 1982, two deadly shots sitting in a park on the South Side of Chicago.
Alstry Simon He confessed to the crime while investigating a murder by a team of journalism students at Northwestern University. Simon was later convicted and sentenced to 37 years in prison.
The Cook County law firm reviewed Simon’s conviction in 2013 after Simon withdrew his confession. Simon claimed that he was forced to make it by a private detective in collaboration with journalism students. He says he promised to get an early release and share of the profits from the book and movie trade.
In 2014, state lawyer Anita Alvarez said the investigation into the case failed and her office was unable to maintain the legitimacy of Simon’s conviction. Alvarez did not say whether he believed Simon was innocent.
Simon was released from prison in October 2014.
Porter’s case helped former Governor George Ryan suspend all executions in Illinois. Ryan declared an execution moratorium in 2003 and cleared the death row cell by passing the death sentence of more than 150 prisoners to life imprisonment. Illinois, led by Governor Pat Quinn Abolished the death penalty in 2011..
Porter was arrested in 2011 for stealing deodorant from a Chicago pharmacy. He was found guilty of theft of a retail store and sentenced to one year in prison in 2012.