CHICAGO — Two men who were imprisoned for more than 20 years for a 1993 murder have been released after charges against them were dropped.
43-year-old Armando Serrano was released Wednesday from Dixon Correctional Center west of Chicago and 48-year-old Jose Montanez from Danville Correctional Center in central Illinois. A weeping Montanez said his release was "a long time in coming."
Jose Montanez back home with family after serving 23 years in prison. His murder conviction was throw out today. pic.twitter.com/xaQvPcn5Oj
— Tahman Bradley (@tahmanbradley) July 21, 2016
“It’s been torture. It’s been hell. I couldn’t explain it in words,” Serrano said.
Cook County prosecutors on Wednesday announced their decision not to retry the men. Prosecutors' decision came after an appeals court ruling last month found "profoundly alarming acts of misconduct" led to the men's convictions in the death of Rodrigo Vargas.
The men were convicted on testimony from a man who later recanted. They both have long said they are innocent.