CHICAGO (WLS) --A Chicago man who has spent more than two decades in prison for the murder of two men has been released after Cook County prosecutors dropped charges against him.
Eddie Bolden, 46, was sentenced to life in prison in 1996 for the murders of Irving Clayton and Derrick Frazier. The victims were found shot to death in a burning car on January 29, 1994 in what authorities say was a drug deal gone bad.
Flanked by his cheering family, Bolden walked past the gates that have kept him locked him up for decades. He took a moment to look around, almost confused - and relieved.
"I'm glad I'm out," Bolden said moments after his release.
Bolden said knowing the truth about his innocence kept him going for more than 22 years behind bars.
"I just didn't accept the life sentence. They said I had life, I didn't say I had life. And I worked on coming home," Bolden said.
Bolden was convicted on the testimony of a single eyewitness who identified him as the gunman. Bolden had a new lawyer appointed about six years ago who has been fighting on his behalf.
His attorney said he believes it was the testimony of three eyewitnesses who said Bolden was inside a South Side restaurant at the time the murders occurred that caused prosecutors to ask that the charges against Bolden be dropped.
"These witnesses should have testified 22 years ago, and had they, Eddie would not have spent any time in jail," said Ron Safer, Bolden's attorney.
"I never thought this day would come. I always believed he was innocent but we couldn't prove it," said Ricquia Lanore, Bolden's sister.
Until today, Bolden was in jail awaiting a retrial. On Tuesday morning, prosecutors decided there wasn't enough evidence and dropped the charges.
"All I can think about right now is seeing my children," Bolden said.
Bolden said he will now get to see his 21-year-old son, who was just a baby when he went to jail, graduate college.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.