South suburban man exonerated after nearly 30 years in prison

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CREST HILL, Ill. -- After serving nearly 30 years in prison, a south suburban man has been exonerated.

Christopher Abernathy, accused of sexually assaulting and killing a 15-year-old high school student back in the 1980s, was released from prison Wednesday.

Advances in DNA testing helped to vacate a murder conviction for Abernathy. And for the first time in nearly 30 years, 48-year-old Christopher Abernathy is a free man.

He walked out of Stateville Correctional Center into the cold Wednesday afternoon—with only a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt.

Abernathy was behind bars serving a life sentence for a murder conviction. The then-17-year-old was accused of raping, robbing and stabbing to death 15 year-old Kristina Hickey of Park Forest back in 1984.

Abernathy, originally from Midlothian, is now back by his mother’s side, as she fights a terminal illness.

In the meantime, cold case detectives are working to solve this murder.

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