New Hope for Doomed Inmate

If the state of Illinois had its way, 43-year-old former gang member Anthony Porter would be dead.

Forty-eight hours before Porter's scheduled execution for the 1982 killings of a teen-age couple on Chicago's south side, his attorneys won a temporary stay based on mental fitness. A psychologist says Porter has the IQ of a child.

" He is very, very lucky," said defense attorney Dan Sanders who has argued in court that Porter is "unable to understand the sentence he is facingÂ…and he is unable to assist his counsel in his defense."

Prosecutor Thomas Gainer, however, contends that Porter is fit for execution and that he has evidence to prove it.

CBS News Correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports that while the courtroom debate over Porter's competence rages on, his defense got a boost Tuesday from a Northwestern University investigative team that provided new evidence aimed at persuading authorities to reopen Porter's case.

"Based on the investigation my students and I have conducted, " said David Protess, professor of journalism, " Anthony Porter is not competent to be executed and he may well be innocent."

The investigation began as a class project and a crime re-enactment and turned into a full-blown investigation after the class tracked down the state's only
surviving eyewitness.

William Andrew Taylor, whose testimony helped to convict Porter, now says his testimony was coerced by police and has signed an affidavit exonerating Porter.

"One, I was present in the park when the shooting occurred, " he said. Two, I did not see Anthony Porter shoot anyone."

Many in the neighborhood, including the mother of one of the victims, never believed Porter was the killer.

"I don't believe he did it. I don't believe he killed my daughter," said Offie Green.

Information from Mrs. Green led the Northwestern team to a new suspect, a man who had been at the park with her daughter the night she was murdered. The students found him living in Milwaukee, where his estranged wife confessed to witnessing the killings.

"I was shaking to death. I was scared for my life," said Margaret Inez Simon, murder witness.

On the basis of this new information, the state has agreed to re-examine Porter's case.

"Don't, you know, hurt him," said Mrs. Green, who is hoping it's not too late for justice for Porter. "Don't do nothing to him. Let him live."