Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wrongful conviction puts innocent man behind bars for 18 years

A Champaign man is free and telling his story after spending nearly two decades behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

Teshome Campbell was 22 years old when he was convicted of murder, after a man was beaten to death in Champaign on Christmas morning in 1997.

He spent 18 years in prison, but this January, the 40 year old walked away from the Danville Correctional Facility as a free man.

Campbell says incorrect eyewitness identification and ineffective counsel led to his wrongful conviction. "Had I had the right representation, I would have never been here doing this right now." 

Campbell's hope is to help others who, like him, were convicted of crimes they didn't commit.

He's doing that with the help of the Illinois Innocence Project based at the University of Illinois Springfield, which helped with his exoneration. Larry Golden, the Founding Director of the Illinois Innocence Project, said, "There's nothing that I've done in my life that exceeds the reward of walking somebody out of prison who's actually innocent. It's so rewarding and heartbreaking at the same time, that this individual lost the core years of his life."

Campbell will receive compensation from the state for the wrongful conviction, but details on how much or when have not been released.

This story appeared on FOX Illinois on October 11, 2016.

Watch the entire story online.