Listen to this article here

Glynn Simmons spent 48 years in prison for a crime he maintains he never committed. For the last 25 years he’s tried to convince Oklahoma courts they got it wrong. On Tuesday, the courts finally heard him. He’s now the longest-serving prisoner to gain exoneration.

Last week, The Black Wall Street Times spoke with Simmons after Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna, a Democrat, announced she would ask a judge to vacate his conviction.

“I’m happy, and I’m free. It’s a long, long struggle. I don’t know man. I’m not usually at a loss for words. Not something you can describe,” Simmons told The Black Wall Street Times.

On Tuesday, Simmons had a few more words after Oklahoma County District Judge Amy Palumbo approved the request.

“Glory to the most high,” Simmons told The Black Wall Street Times in a text message.

According to his attorney Joseph Norwood, Glynn Simmons now holds the record of the longest-serving prisoner to be exonerated.

Glynn Simmons breaks record for longest-serving sentence exonerated

Simmons spent decades trying to convince Oklahoma courts that he was mistakenly chosen out of a police lineup for the 1975 shooting of two women in Edmond.

At one point, he was even sent to Oklahoma’s death row, a place from which very few people escape. But Simmons doesn’t want to spend the time he has left holding grudges. Instead he wants to work with communities to remove procedural hurdles that prevent prisoners from bringing up new evidence.

“They did it to me for 25 years. I gave them notice 25 years ago” that he had evidence pointing to his innocence, Glynn Simmons said. “I’m fighting cancer plus I’m fighting my case.” 

His attorney says his case stands out in a big way.

The University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law jointly run the National Registry of Exonerations. According to their website, the longest-serving prisoner to be exonerated was John Ausby. He served 47 years, 4 months, 18 days of a life sentence in D.C.

Meanwhile, Glynn Simmons served over 48 years, giving him the title of becoming the longest-serving prisoner to be exonerated.

It’s not such a good record for Oklahoma, however.

“To me what it says is the system’s gotten better, things have advanced,” attorney Norwood told The Black Wall Street Times on Tuesday. “They’re not to where they need to be by any means. The system that screwed up has now fixed it, too. Almost 50 years too late. But still fixed it. Nothing can be do to really fix it, but it has been addressed.”

Moving forward after longest exoneration

Oklahoma caps the amount of money granted to exonerated prisoners. Glynn Simmons may have broken a national record with the longest exoneration, but he’s only entitled to $175,000, the maximum under state law.

So far, a GoFundMe set up for Simmons’ transition back into society has garnered over $14,000 of a $50,000 goal.

“Just happy that we can move on to focus on his health and how he’s going to survive moving forward,” attorney Norwood said.

“We’re glad this is behind us, but the fight’s not over. Big win. Big stepping stone but a lot still to do to make sure he can enjoy this as long as possible.”

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply