After a man spent three decades of his life serving a prison sentence for a triple murder in Philadelphia, a judge ordered his release by throwing out his conviction.
Theophalis Wilson, who had served 28 years, was exonerated a month after his co-defendant, Christopher Williams, was cleared of the three 1989 killings. Wilson, who is now 48 years old, was a teenager when he was accused of participating in the slayings of Otis Reynolds and brothers Kevin and Gavin Anderson in north Philadelphia.
After his realease Tuesday afternoon, Wilson said, “this is a great day,” And then he added in a gesture of solidarity with his fellow prisoners and pointing out mistakes in the judicial system, “Now we gotta go back and get the other guys. There’s a lot of innocent people in jail.”
His mother, Kim Wilson, said: “It´s a beautiful day. I just thank God it finally happened.”
Wilson, now 48 years old, was a teenager when he was accused of participating in the slayings of Otis Reynolds and brothers Kevin and Gavin Anderson in north Philadelphia.
He was exonerated a month after his co-defendant, Christopher Williams, was cleared of the three 1989 killings.
According to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, the handling of the case was characterized by a number of irregularities including serious misconduct by the prosecution, an ineffective defense, and false testimony. These deficiencies led the Attorney´s Office to call the case the case a “perfect storm” of injustice
You can read: Innocent man freed after 22 years imprisioned
The witness who testified against Wilson and Williams later declined, saying that he had given false testimony in exchange for a deal to escape the death penalty and expecting an eventual release. However, his earlier accounts of events were contradicted by physical evidence presented by forensic specialists at a hearing in 2013.
Williams remains imprisoned on a life sentence in a fourth murder, a 1989 slaying in which he and another man were convicted but in which both have maintained their innocence.
Wilson is the 12th person exonerated by the prosecutor’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). Unit chief Patricia Cummings said in court that it was time for Wilson to be allowed to “go home a free man, and that he go home with an apology.”
“No words can express what we put these people through. What we put Mr. Wilson through. What we put his family through,” she said.