Exonerated Man, Incarcerated 48 Years – Longest Ever – Gets Cancer, No Compensation Yet

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By The Vanguard Staff

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Glynn Simmons may have been exonerated after 48 years of incarceration, but right now he’s got cancer and is living off a GoFundMe page because state compensation is years away.

Simmons, now 71, was found guilty of a 1975 murder after he allegedly took part in an armed robbery that left a store clerk dead. Now, he can lay claim to the longest prison sentence on a wrongful conviction, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

AP News reports a “witness to the incident and a patron who was shot but survived both told the police they couldn’t make out who the robbers were. However, somehow Simmons ended up getting swept into a lineup and was charged with both robbery and capital murder.”

The exoneration makes Simmons eligible for up to $175,000 in compensation from the state for wrongful conviction and opens the door for a federal lawsuit against Oklahoma City and law enforcement involved in Simmons’ arrest and conviction, defense attorney Joe Norwood said.

But AP News reports compensation is “likely years away, Norwood said and Simmons is currently living on donations while undergoing treatment for cancer that was detected after his release from prison.”

Although the maximum compensation for an exonerated person is $175,000, OK state Rep. Cyndie Munson has authored a measure to up that to $50,000 for every year spent in prison, said KOCO News. Thirty-five states have implemented this into law.

AP said, “Until the bill becomes law, Mr. Simmons (who could get more than $2 million under the new law) is living off GoFundMe donations which have now reach up to over $100,000, surpassing his goal of $50,000. Simmons plans to use the funds to put a roof over his head, clothes on his back, food and pay for the medical treatments he needs for liver cancer.”

“I plan to use my remaining time to help others who are still stuck where I was. We need to fix this system so that what happened to me will never happen to anyone else, ever again,” Simmons’ donation page reads.

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