Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Friday, October 30, 2015


            We, the comrades of Unit 1012, NEVER and DO NOT support any wrongful conviction, we want the guilty to be punished. However, we know that the ACLU Demons, uses the word, ‘innocent convicted’ not because they fear convicting the innocent, but they just oppose convicting the guilty.

            On this date, October 30, 2014, Alstory Simon was freed from Prison after spending nearly 15 years behind bar after being framed by the Innocence Project.

Alstory Simon
Most Serious Crime:
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:
37 years
Age at the date of crime:
Contributing Factors:
False Confession, Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:

On August 15, 1982, Marilyn Green, 19, and Jerry Hillard, 18, were shot to death in a park on the south side of Chicago. Immediately after the shooting, police interviewed William Taylor, who had been swimming in the park pool when the murders occurred. At first, Taylor said he did not see the person who committed the crime. Later, at the station, he said he did see Anthony Porter run by right after he heard the shots. After another 17 hours of interrogation, Taylor told police that he actually saw Porter shoot the victims.

Green’s mother, however, told police that she thought the murders had been committed by a man named Alstory Simon, who had been in a heated dispute with Hillard over drug money. Green said she saw Simon and his wife, Inez Jackson, with the victims not long before the shooting.

Police did interview Simon and Jackson, but according to statements later obtained by defense investigators, the police just showed them a photograph of Porter and asked if they had any information about the crime. Simon and Jackson responded that they had not been in the park that night. They said they were asked nothing further and never heard from the police again. A few days later, Simon and Jackson moved to Milwaukee.

After hearing that his name had been mentioned in connection with the double murders, Anthony Porter went to the police station. Despite his protestations of innocence and the lack of physical evidence connecting him with the murders, he was arrested and charged with the two murders, one count of armed robbery, one count of unlawful restraint, and two counts of unlawful use of weapons.

Although Porter qualified for a public defender, his family thought he would be better off with a private lawyer. They retained Akim Gursel. The family agreed to pay him $10,000, but paid only $3,000 by the time Porter went to trial before Judge Robert L. Sklodowski and a jury.

The prosecution structured its case around Taylor's testimony. During the trial, Gursel once fell asleep, and he called only two alibi witnesses and a photographer who had taken pictures of the park.

The jury found Porter guilty, and Sklodowski sentenced him to death. Porter had exhausted his appeals, his execution date was set, his family had made funeral arrangements, and he was just 50 hours from execution when he won a reprieve from the Illinois Supreme Court in late 1998. The reprieve was not granted out of concern that Porter might be innocent but solely because he had scored so low on an IQ test. The court’s only purpose was to determine whether he was able to comprehend the nature of his ultimate punishment.

That delay gave Medill School of Journalism Professor David Protess, a team of his Northwestern University journalism students, and a private investigator, Paul Ciolino, time to reinvestigate the case.

In December of 1998, William Taylor recanted his testimony to Ciolino and one of the students. He said in an affidavit that police had pressured him to name Porter as the shooter. On January 29, 1999, Alstory Simon's now-estranged wife, Inez Jackson, told Protess, Ciolino, and two of the students that she was present when Simon shot Green and Hillard. She said she did not know Anthony Porter, but that he most certainly had nothing to do with the crime. Four days later, on February 3, Alstory Simon confessed on videotape to Ciolino, asserting that he had killed Hillard in self-defense after the two argued over drug money. Simon claimed the shooting of Marilyn Green had been accidental.

In February 1999, after prosecutors satisfied themselves of the veracity of the confession, Porter was freed, having spent 17 years on death row, and the charges against him were dismissed the following month. In September 1999, Simon pled guilty to second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in an emotional hearing during which he apologized to the families of the victims. Simon was sentenced to 37 years in prison. Governor George H. Ryan granted Porter a pardon based on innocence and in 2000 Porter received a $145,875.29 award from the Illinois Court of Claims.

In December 2005, lawyers for Simon filed a post-conviction petition seeking to vacate his conviction. Simon claimed he was coerced by Ciolino to falsely confess to the murders. Ciolino denied the accusation. The petition said that Inez Jackson had recanted her statement that she was present when Simon shot green and Hillard. Walter Jackson, Inez Jackson’s nephew, who told the Northwestern students that he saw Simon commit the murders, also recanted and said that his statement was false.

Simon contended that his lawyer, Jack Rimland, pressured him to plead guilty even though he was innocent. In 2014, Rimland said that Simon had admitted to him that he committed the murders and that Simon had confessed to another attorney as well.

In May 2006, Simon’s lawyers obtained a statement from Raymond Brown, who was 13 at the time of the murders, that Porter was the gunman. Brown said he was in the park, heard gunshots, saw Porter fire a gun and Hillard lying in the bleachers. Brown said he saw Porter run past him with a gun in his hand.

Cook County Circuit Judge Evelyn Clay denied Simon’s petition in September 2006 and the ruling was upheld by the Illinois Court of Appeals. The Illinois Supreme Court declined to review the ruling in May 2008.

In October 2013, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez agreed to review Simon’s case and referred it to her Conviction Integrity Unit. On October 30, 2014, Alvarez filed a motion to vacate Simon’s conviction. The motion was granted, the charges against Simon were dismissed, and Simon was released. Alvarez said that Simon falsely confessed because of tactics employed by journalism professor Protess and private investigator Ciolino, who created a video using an actor posing as an eyewitness to the murders. On the video the actor said he saw Simon commit the crime. The video was shown to Simon immediately before he gave his confession.

“This investigation by David Protess and his team involved a series of alarming tactics that were not only coercive and absolutely unacceptable by law enforcement standards, they were potentially in violation of Mr. Simon’s constitutionally protected rights,” Alvarez said.

“I can’t definitely tell you if it was Porter or Simon,” Alvarez said. “I’m just saying that based on the totality of the circumstances and the way I think Simon was coerced, in the interest of justice, this is the right thing to do.”

In February 2015, lawyers for Simon filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Protess, Rimland, Ciolino and Northwestern University. In June 2015, a judge denied a request from Simon for a certificate of innocence.

– Maurice Possley and Center on Wrongful Convictions

Posting Date: 10/31/2014
Last Updated: 6/18/2015

Falsely convicted 'double murderer' who spent 15 years on death row was set up by anti-death penalty campaigners

  • Alstory Simon, 64, confessed to a double murder in Chicago in 1999 
  • It came as a result of an investigation from a team of students at Northwestern University, led by Professor David Protess
  • It helped free death row inmate Anthony Porter who was initially convicted
  • His case was cited when Illinois put a moratorium on executions in 2003 
  • Simon's attorney Terry Ekl claims the team of journalists, the professor and a private investigator framed his client
  • Porter would then be a 'poster boy' for the bid to end capital punishment
  • Attorneys said his confession was coerced and tactics used were 'criminal'
An innocent man who spent years on death row after being tricked into confessing to a double murder says he finds it hard to forgive the people who put him in prison.

Alstory Simon, 64, admitted to the killings in 1999 as a result of an investigation by an anti-death penalty group which has since been accused of using threats and false promises to force the drug addict into his confession.

The investigation by the Medill Innocence Project helped free death row inmate Anthony Porter just days before his execution, a case that was cited when the state announced a moratorium on capital punishment in 2003 and its abolition in 2011.

That also spared Simon the death penalty, but he went on to serve 15 years in the Jacksonville Correction Center before being released after the Cook County Attorney's Office re-examined his conviction. 

As he adjusts to life as a free man, Simon has spoken of his anger at the tactics used by the Medill Innocence Project.

Speaking to Fox News, he said: 'It was very hard to get along with knowing that fact - that I was locked up in prison for something I knew I didn’t do.

'It can make you kind of mean, but as time went by I overcame it.' 

The Medill Innocence Project, led by former Northwestern University Journalism Professor David Protess, confronted Simon at his home claiming that the mother of one of the two victims of the 1982 shooting had placed him at the scene.

Days later, private investigator Paul Ciclino and another man returned with flashing guns and police badges and urged him to confess if he wanted to avoid the death penalty.

He denied any involved but the group persisted, promising him a light sentence and royalties from a book they were writing on the crime.

They also showed him video of his ex-wife and another man who later turned out to be actor claiming they witnessed Simon commit the murder.

'They did everything that’s forbidden by the law enforcement community,' Simon said.

'These people went to great lengths to do what they did to me, and I never did anything to anyone.'

Earlier this month, it was reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Simon's attorney Terry Ekl claimed the team of journalists and their professor at the Innocence Project framed his client so Porter could become a 'poster boy' in the bid to end executions in the state.  

Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez added that the 'tactics and antics' of the investigator, Paul Ciclino in conjunction with Protess could have added up to criminal charges or obstruction of justice and intimidation of a witness at the time.

However it would be impossible to file charges because the statute of limitations has run out.
Simon, wearing a grey hoodie and jeans when he was released from prison, told reporters outside Jacksonville Correctional Center that he was angry.

'I'm not angry at the system. I'm angry at the people who did what they did to me,' he said, crying as he told reporters that his mother had died while he was behind bars. 

Simon was convicted and sentenced to 37 years in prison - he served 15. 

But the Cook County State's Attorney's Office began re-examining his conviction last year after his attorney presented evidence that he had been threatened with the death penalty and coerced into confessing with promises that he would get an early release and share in the profits from book and movie deals. 

Alvarez said he was tricked by a private investigator who stormed into his home and showed him a videotape of a man who said he had seen Simon pull the trigger.

The man turned out to be an actor.

'In the best interest of justice, we could reach no other conclusion but that the investigation of this case has been so deeply corroded and corrupted that we can no longer maintain the legitimacy of this conviction,' Alvarez said.

The Porter case helped lead former Gov. George Ryan to declare a moratorium on executions in 2003, and he cleared death row by commuting the death sentences of more than 150 inmates to life in prison. Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty in 2011. 

Alvarez did not say whether she believed Simon is, in fact, innocent, but she said there were so many problems with the case.

One of them was what she called a coerced confession and the deaths of a number of key figures, making it impossible to determine exactly what happened on the morning of Aug. 15, 1982, when two people were shot to death as they sat in a park on Chicago's South Side. 

She also said there remains powerful evidence that Porter was the gunman, including several witnesses who still maintain their original statements.

'As I stand here today, I can't definitely tell you it was Porter who did this or Simon who did this,' she said. 

Protess, who retired from Northwestern in 2011 amid questions about his investigative methods, has not responded to phone calls for comment, but has previously defended his methods and results. 

Ciolino, who like Protess has denied acting improperly, released a statement that emphasized that Simon confessed multiple times, including to a TV reporter and his own lawyer.

'You explain that,' Ciolino said. Nonetheless, he added, no one should be in prison if the state did not meet its burden of proof.



Crime Lab Report


No comments:

Post a Comment