Chicago Man Exonerated in 2013 Murder After New Medical Evidence Helps Prove Innocence

Leighton Criminal Court Building (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)Leighton Criminal Court Building (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

A Chicago man who served more than a decade behind bars has been exonerated in a 2013 murder after medical evidence showed it would have been “impossible” for him to have been the shooter.

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Anthony Robinson, 31, is set to be released from custody Monday after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office agreed to vacate his conviction in the 2013 killing of Kelvin Jemison and dismissed all charges against him.

“I missed out on so many years, so much of my life,” Robinson said in a statement. “I didn’t understand the system back then and thought the truth would come out right away. I told the police I was shot when they arrested me. I thought they’d see my leg, see me limping, and know I didn’t do it. It shouldn’t have taken this long, but I am just looking forward to going home and starting fresh.”

According to reporting from the Chicago Tribune, Jemison was walking in the 4500 block of South Champlain Avenue on Jan. 1, 2013, when a black car circled the block multiple times. Three people exited that vehicle, the Tribune reported, and while two of them acted as lookouts, the third man began shooting at Jemison and a 17-year-old friend with him.

Robinson was eventually arrested, despite a lack of any physical evidence connecting him to the murder, his attorneys said.

Instead, he was convicted during a bench trial based on a statement from the surviving victim to police, which identified Robinson as the shooter. But Robinson’s attorneys said that the victim recanted on the witness stand, testifying that he hadn’t seen the shooting and that his initial statement had been coerced by police.

Two other eyewitnesses also testified that Robinson was not the shooter. Despite this, he was found guilty and sentenced to 55 years in prison.

The shooting was captured on video and showed the shooter had chased after the victims at full speed before fleeing the crime, according to attorneys with the Exoneration Project.

They eventually obtained Robinson’s medical records, which showed he’d been shot in the left leg and right foot months before Jemison’s murder. According to his attorneys, an orthopedic surgeon reviewed the records and found that “it would be impossible” for Robinson to have committed this shooting given the extensive surgery he underwent weeks prior.

Robinson’s attorneys presented that medical evidence — as well as additional information that another person had confessed to multiple people that he had shot Jemison — to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, which agreed to vacate Robinson’s conviction.

“After carefully reviewing the case details and the evidence provided in the post-conviction petition, in the interest of justice the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office did not oppose the request for post-conviction relief and consequently dismissed the reinstated charges against Anthony Robinson,” Foxx’s office said in a statement Monday.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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