Man freed after new evidence overturns double murder conviction

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Charles Johnson is a free man Monday night after a judge vacated his conviction in a 20-year-old double murder in light of new fingerprint evidence. (WLS)

Charles Johnson is a free man after a judge vacated his conviction Monday for a double murder in light of new fingerprint evidence.

Johnson has been in prison for 20 years. He was released Monday afternoon.

"I always said, 'I'm not free until I come out these doors.' So now that I'm out here, it hit me now," Johnson said.

Johnson fell into the warm embrace of his family; his brother and sister, and nieces and nephews who only knew him as an inmate.

"I told him every day he was in there, I'm doing time with him. And that's how it felt," said his mother Theresa Johnson.

"We're just overjoyed and happy to have him here. The fight isn't over yet, we just can't wait to prove his innocence," said Delania McQuitter, Johnson's sister.

Johnson and two other men were convicted of a 1995 double murder at a southwest side car dealership. Police said the men signed confessions, but then quickly recanted. Relatives provided an alibi.

Attorneys worked for eight years to overturn Johnson's conviction based in light of fingerprint evidence that did not match Johnson. They succeeded Monday.

"The system is broken. I think people make decisions in their mind as to what they think happened and go with it and this is the result. This is the sad result of what happens," said Justin Barker, attorney at Kirkland & Ellis.

"The legal issue is still pending, I just look forward to proving my innocence at a new trial," Johnson said.
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