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Convicted killer Alstory Simon, protesting innocence, gets audience before prosecutors

Updated: May 5, 2014 8:47AM

A 63-year-old Chicago man whose confession to a double murder is being reinvestigated was transported from prison earlier this week to meet with a top prosecutor in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, authorities said Thursday.

In 1999, Alstory Simon pleaded guilty to the fatal shootings of Jerry Hillard and Marilyn Green near a swimming pool in Washington Park. He was sentenced to 37 years in prison for the murders.

Anthony Porter, originally convicted in the murders, was released from prison after Simon confessed to the 1982 crimes. Porter was freed from Death Row just days before his execution date — a major factor in then-Gov. George Ryan declaring a moratorium on capital punishment.

On Monday, Cook County prosecutors arranged for Simon to travel from the Jacksonville Correctional Center to the state’s attorney’s offices at 26th and California. Fabio Valentini, the chief of criminal prosecutions, interviewed Simon about the case, said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the office.

Also present at the interview was Terry Ekl, an attorney who contends that an advocate for Porter coerced a false confession from Simon.

Neither the state’s attorney’s office nor Ekl would discuss the details of the interview. Daly said she could not provide a timetable for when prosecutors might make a decision about Simon’s case.

Simon is eligible for parole in August 2017, according to prison records.

The convictions of six other men have been vacated since the state’s attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit was created in 2012.

Former Northwestern University professor David Protess and his students at the Medill School of Journalism worked to prove Porter’s innocence.

In a letter to the state’s attorney’s office last year, Ekl said Protess worked with a private investigator who used improper tactics to coerce a confession from Simon. Ekl said the investigator showed Simon a fake video of an actor claiming to witness Simon kill Hillard and Green.

Protess has said he found the videotaped confession convincing and pointed out that Simon later gave the family of one of the victims an apology in court.

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