After more than 40 years in prison and six years after another man confessed to a crime, Leroy Evans walked out of a Delaware County courtroom on Friday as a free man.
Evans, now 64, has spent the past 40 years in prison after being convicted of the 1981 murder of Emily Leo. Although his release did not result in a full acquittal, the state found other evidence, including his 2016 statement by a co-defendant. Denying Evans’ involvement in the murder was enough to allow his release on time.
On Friday, Evans walked in to cheers from a large group of family, friends and other supporters. rice field.
Evans was found guilty of first-degree murder in Leo’s death in Chester. At the time, he was only 24 years old and ready to marry his young father, his high school sweetheart.
Despite the circumstances, Rosemary Simmons never left Evans’ side and her love for him never wavered. There were many times when I wanted to crush him, but I couldn’t because I needed to see him go through with his life,” she said.
For decades, Evans has maintained his innocence. One of his pieces of evidence used to put him in prison was the testimony of his alleged co-defendant Anthony Jones. However, Jones’ testimony later proved unreliable and inconsistent, and in 2016 he denied that Evans was involved in the murder, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office said.
Although the Attorney General’s Office Conviction Honesty Section was unable to fully acquit Evans on the basis of other evidence, the CIS stated that Evans did not kill Leo, according to Jones’ 2016 statement. and agreed that new details about the crime should be taken into account. newly discovered evidence.
A judge agreed, allowing Evans to face a new trial on Friday. That his plea allowed him to resent the legal maximum and walk out on time.
“This is a strong reminder of the importance of ensuring justice for all Pennsylvanians,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro in a statement. It is important that it is factually based: the reliance on co-defendants’ testimony, which over time has been shown to be unreliable as my team investigated the case, is Mr. Evans’ first class It turns out that it led to a murder conviction.”
One of the people who fought the hardest to get Evans out of prison was his mother, Alice Evans. Sadly, she passed away from COVID-19 last year, but her prayers were not in vain.
Evans is now spending time with his family and getting to know many of them for the first time. He said he held no grudge even though he had been deprived of his liberty for so long.
“If you have faith in God, you don’t even feel bitterness in your heart,” Evans said.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/behind-bars-4-decades-man-walks-free-after-appeal/3379185/ 4 decades behind bars, Leroy Evans walks free after appeal – NBC10 Philadelphia