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Murder Charges Dropped Against Man Imprisoned For 21 Years

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Cook County prosecutors Friday dismissed murder charges against an Uptown man who has spent the last 21 years behind bars for a double murder he says he didn't commit.

Deon Patrick, 42, was expected to be released later Friday from Menard Correctional Center Downstate, his attorney, Stuart Chanen, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Patrick has long argued that he is innocent of the 1992 murders of Sharon Haugabook and Jeffrey Lassiter in an Uptown apartment, and that his confession was coerced.

On Friday, six months after they dismissed charges after Patrick codefendant Daniel Taylor in the same case, prosecutors decided to drop Patrick's case.

"Based upon the collective results of our investigation and our continuing review of this case, it is our assessment that we cannot meet our legal burden and we do not believe that it would be in the interest of justice to proceed," Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said in a statement.

Taylor and his attorneys argued that he couldn't have committed the murders because, at the time, he was in the 23rd District Station lockup on a disorderly conduct charge from 6:55 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Nov. 16, 1992 — the day Haugabook and Lassiter were murdered, records show. The crime took place at 8:43 p.m.

At the time of Taylor's 1995 trial, prosecutors claimed that the police lockup records were inaccurate and that the officers were mistaken about Taylor's presence there.

Patrick's attorneys argued that their client's confession can't be legitimate, in part, because he also implicates Taylor in the slayings.

"Deon and his family are thrilled beyond belief," Chanen said. "This is 21 years coming. From the moment the state knew Daniel Taylor was in the lockup [when the killings occurred], which they knew in 1992, every aspect of this prosecution was outrageous."

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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