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‘Don’t ever stop’: After 48 years behind bars, exonerated man hopes to help others clear their names

Sep 22, 2023, 5:06 PM

Glynn Simmons served 48 years behind bars before being exonerated. Now, he said he wants to spend t...

Glynn Simmons served 48 years behind bars before being exonerated. Now, he said he wants to spend the rest of his life helping other men like him clear their names. Mandatory Credit: KOCO

OKLAHOMA (KOCO) — A man, who spent more time behind bars than anyone who was eventually exonerated in American history, experienced his first full day of freedom on Wednesday.

Glynn Simmons served 48 years behind bars before being exonerated. Now, he said he wants to spend the rest of his life helping other men like him clear their names.

“When you know you’re innocent, stick with it. Don’t ever stop. Don’t let nobody tell you that it can’t happen because it really can,” Simmons said during a news conference.

“We can’t trust government with the power to kill, and this is the prime example why,” said Abraham Bonowitz with Death Penalty Action.

Since 1974, Simmons has maintained his innocence in the shooting of two Edmond women during a liquor store robbery. One of those women died.

Simmons was released from prison this summer when a judge vacated his conviction due to a resurfacing of critical evidence that was withheld during the original trial. An Oklahoma judge dismissed the case altogether, meaning there will not be a new trial.

“I had my doubts a whole bunch of times. I’d be lying if I say I didn’t,” Simmons said.

On the east side of the Oklahoma County Courthouse is a quote from Thomas Jefferson that reads, “equal and exact justice to all men,” words Simmons will spend the rest of his life fighting for.

“I’m trying to get into justice reform and rethinking how we do criminal justice, because there’s a lot of guys left behind where I came from that aren’t fortunate to have the team I have,” Simmons said.

Simmons’ lawyer wouldn’t confirm if they will sue anyone over his time being bars, but they said their next steps are being planned.

Now, there’s a push to help Simmons find financial security as he navigates the free world.


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‘Don’t ever stop’: After 48 years behind bars, exonerated man hopes to help others clear their names