Man clears name after wrongfully convicted of murder, imprisoned for 18 years

Man clears name after wrongfully convicted of murder, imprisoned for 18 years

Anthony Lemons spent 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. New evidence helped Lemons get a new trial and clear his name.

Lemons appeared to make the sign of the cross and looked up after being acquitted of a murder he has always maintained he didn't commit.

"It feels so good to restore our family name, but it gives me the ability to start living my life. My life is about service and justice," says Lemons. 

Lemons was arrested in 1995 for the murder of Eric Sims, who was shot multiple times and killed at the now demolished Cliffview Manor near 192nd and Euclid. 

Lemons says his lawyers at the time couldn't prove he was innocent because key evidence was withheld. There was a photo spread that one witness was shown multiple times and was said to have even been coached before picking Lemons out of the lineup. There was also a pair of Nike shoes that the witness said the killer wore, only that shoe wasn't even made until eight months after the murder. 

Lemons was acquitted of the crime after being granted a new trial. Prosecutors chose not to put any evidence in the new trial. Prosecutors said there was no way they put on their case with a key witness now being deceased. 

"The government finally did the right thing today, I think, and decided not to put any evidence on, didn't attempt to procrastinate this injustice. We were able to get finality for Anthony, and he was acquitted," said Kevin Spellacy, Lemons' attorney.

Lemons says he now wants to help others who may have also been wrongly convicted of a crime.

"I am going to do what I can to end mass incarceration in my community. I'm going back into the institutions to help those people to see the right way to live, to become a full citizen again," said Lemons.

Lemons will now have to head back to court to try and get compensation for his years in jail. 

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