Monday, February 26, 2018

Free after 22 years: Man visits UIS to thank those who exonerated him

A 61-year-old man who spent more than 22 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit said he doesn’t see any reason to be angry.

“I’m overwhelmed. I don’t think being bitter is going to help me,” William “Bill” Amor said Friday during an interview at the University of Illinois Springfield, home of the Illinois Innocence Project. 

Amor was convicted of arson and murder in connection with a Sept. 10, 1995, fire in Naperville that killed his mother-in-law.

The fire occurred in an apartment that Amor and his wife shared with his wife’s mother.

Attorneys at the Illinois Innocence Project say Amor gave a false confession after 15 hours of questioning.

Larry Golden, founding director of the Innocence Project, said that in the false confession, Amor said he poured vodka on newspapers and then used a cigarette to light the fire. “At that time, the investigators just concluded that was accurate because that was the confession,” Golden said. “And it turns out, the arson science just conclusively proved that was impossible. Even the state’s science witnesses refuted that as a possible occurrence.”

The scientific testimony resulted in a DuPage County judge vacating Amor’s conviction in April 2017. He was released from custody, but charges were re-filed and he had to sit through another trial. 

Amor was found innocent Wednesday. On Friday, he was at the UIS campus to thank the members of the Illinois Innocence Project for winning his freedom.

“I’m grateful for all the help from everybody. It’s just been wonderful. I wouldn’t be free without their help,” Amor said.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 23, 2018.

Read the entire article online.