University of Baltimore IP Clinic Client Kenneth McPherson and his Brother, Mid-Atlantic IP Client Eric Simmons, Freed

University of Baltimore IP Clinic Client Kenneth McPherson and his Brother, Mid-Atlantic IP Client Eric Simmons, Freed

University of Baltimore Innocence Project Clinic

Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project

After serving 25 years in prison following wrongful convictions for conspiracy to commit murder, brothers Kenneth “J.R.” McPherson, 45, and Eric Simmons, 48, were fully exonerated on May 3 and went home to their families. The exonerations were sought by the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) following investigations by the University of Baltimore Innocence Project Clinic (UBIPC), which handled Mr. Simmons’ case, and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (MAIP), which represented Mr. McPherson.

Those recent investigations determined that two of the State’s witnesses in the 1995 trial had provided unreliable evidence: One witness, whose rent was being paid by police, said that she saw the shooting from a third-floor window 150 feet away — a location recently determined to have made such an observation impossible — and a 13-year-old boy who had been aggressively interrogated and threatened with homicide charges until he named Mr. McPherson and Mr. Simmons. That juvenile later recanted his statement, but the men were convicted anyway. Read more.

Eric Simmons, center, thanks Brianna Ford, to his left, for her efforts in securing his exoneration at a May 3 news conference following his release from custody.