Last

Watch: Baltimore Brothers Set Free After 24 Years In Prison For Wrongful Murder Conviction


A j*udge set free two brothers from East Baltimore on Friday after finding they had been wrongly c*onvicted of a m*urder conspiracy 24 years ago.

Kenneth “JR” McPherson, 45, and Eric Simmons, 48, were c*onvicted in May 1995 and s*entenced to life in p*rison.


They were e*xonerated during a h*earing in Baltimore Circuit C*ourt, then stepped outside to a crowd of tearful family members.

“I was in a pool, a swimming pool, and I was drowning,” McPherson said. He pointed to Lauren Lipscomb, chief of the c*onviction integrity unit of the Baltimore State’s A*ttorney’s Office.

“She dove in and she g*rabbed me,” he said, “g*rabbed us out and gave us CPR. You saved my life.”

Two years ago, the brothers wrote to the state’s a*ttorney’s office, and Lipscomb determined their case should be i*nvestigated again. P*rosecutors sought help from the i*nnocence projects at George Washington University and the University of Baltimore. The teams of researchers and students hunt for wrongful c*onvictions.

Outside the c*ourthouse, Simmons wrapped his grown son in a hug and kissed his cheek.

“My son was 2 years old when I got locked up,” he told the crowd.

In 1994, p*olice a*rrested and a*ccused the brothers of g*unning d*own Anthony Wooden, 21, shortly after midnight in the Broadway East neighborhood of East Baltimore. P*olice found more than a dozen sh*ots had been f*ired. They ch*arged McPherson and Simmons with conspiracy to c*ommit m*urder.


Baltimore State’s A*ttorney Marilyn Mosby said the brothers had been wrongly placed among a crew of r*obbers and g*unmen who p*ursued and k*illed Wooden. McPherson was at a party, she said; Simmons, home in bed.

“We’ve set another two i*nnocent men free,” she said. “On behalf of the c*riminal j*ustice system, I apologize to you from the bottom of my heart.”

During the old t*rial, one witness testified to seeing the c*rime from a third-floor window about 150 feet away. A 13-year-old boy — a*ttorneys now say he was th*reatened with h*omicide ch*arges — identified the brothers as the k*illers. Then he recanted his statement during t*rial.

I*nvestigators found evidence to confirm the brothers’ a*libis. They also found a witness who said the brothers had no role.

“JR and Eric deserve compensation from the state for the time they served in p*rison for a c*rime they didn’t do,” said Shawn Armbrust, executive director of the The Mid-Atlantic I*nnocence Project at George Washington.

An affiliate of the project operates here as the Baltimore Innocence Project Clinic. The brothers become the fifth and sixth men e*xonerated in recent years by the research teams and c*onviction integrity unit.


In December, Clarence Shipley Jr., 47, stepped out onto the sidewalk in downtown Baltimore as a free man. He had spent 27 years in p*rison for a wrongful m*urder c*onviction. He too had been c*onvicted on f*aulty witness testimony.

Last July, the researchers freed Jerome Johnson, who was wrongly c*onvicted of m*urder in Park Heights and spent 30 years behind b*ars. Johnson has sued the Baltimore P*olice Department, a*ccusing d*etectives of purposefully withh*olding e*vidence that p*roved him i*nnocent.

Previously, Lamar Johnson was e*xonerated of m*urder in September 2017 after serving 13 years in p*rison. He had been misidentified as having the nickname of the sh*ooter.

Malcolm Bryant was e*xonerated of m*urder in May 2016 by DNA e*vidence and set free after 17 years in p*rison. Bryan d*ied of a s*troke less than one year into his freedom.

Such work is undertaken by teams of researchers, l*awyers and college students with the i*nnocence projects. Often students and l*awyers spend years working to overturn a single c*ase.

I*nnocence projects a*ttorneys in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., say they have e*xonerated 33 i*nnocent men who served a combined 600 years in p*rison for c*rimes they did not commit.


Meanwhile, the Baltimore State’s A*ttorney’s Office says it operates the only c*onviction integrity unit in the state.


Facebook has greatly reduced the distribution of our stories in our readers’ newsfeeds and is instead promoting mainstream media sources. When you share to your friends, however, you greatly help distribute our content. Please take a moment and consider sharing this article with your friends and family. Thank you.