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State's Attorney's Office To Review Conviction In 1982 Double Murder

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Cook County State's Attorney's office has ordered a review of a 1982 double murder, to see if the right man is in prison.

WBBM Newsradio's Steve Miller reports Alstory Simon has been behind bars since 1999, when another man – Anthony Porter – was released from prison, after his conviction for the same crime was overturned.

Simon confessed to the murders of Marilyn Green and her fiancé Jerry Hillard, but has since claimed his confession was coerced.

Witnesses against him also have recanted, and Simon's attorneys have questioned the tactics used by former Northwestern University professor David Protess, and a private investigator with the Medill Innocence Project.

Simon's lawyers said the investigator told Simon if he confessed to the murders in self-defense, he'd only serve a short time, and would get rich from book and movie deals.

They also said they have an affidavit from the man who was chief of the criminal division of the state's attorney's office when Porter was freed, and Simon was imprisoned.

That affidavit from former Assistant State's Attorney Thomas Epach says he had questions about Simon's guilt and Porter's innocence.

A spokeswoman for the current state's attorney, Anita Alvarez, said Alvarez has "ordered her Conviction Integrity Unit to conduct a review of the Simon case."

Protess, his students, and that investigator were the ones who led the effort to get Porter freed, and got Simon's confession.

"I think it's quite commonplace for the Conviction Integrity Unit to review any case that's brought to its attention by a lawyer, and I think that's appropriate," Protess said.

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