Convicted murderer, Anthony McKinney, died in his jail cell this week still proclaiming his innocence.
McKinney’s lawyers say the evidence is clear and persuasive. They believe the 53-year old would have been exonerated and freed from prison, if he only could have gotten a hearing.
“It just got postponed and postponed and postponed, for nothing having to do either with us or Anthony,” said Rob Warden of the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law.
Critics say it’s inexcusable that Anthony McKinney was entitled to a hearing but despite five years of petitioning by Warden and others, McKinney’s lawyers were prevented from presenting evidence. Evidence that Warden says would have exonerated McKinney. “We didn’t cause these delays, it’s just that there are no time limits. The court doesn’t have to do anything and the judge didn’t.”
Warden says Anthony McKinney was just 18-years-old when he was arrested and beaten into submission by police. He eventually confessed to the 1987 slaying of a security guard in Harvey.
He spent 35 years in prison, but as McKinney languished in his cell the legal system dragged its feet.
Warden says legislators or the supreme court must take action to prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again.
McKinney’s family, who lives in the South Suburbs, is absolutely devastated by the news of his death.
An autopsy was performed Wednesday. Prison officials do not suspect foul play.