Edward Bolden, now 46-years-old, spent the last 22 years of his life in jail for the slaying of two men, a crime he did not commit.
On April 20, he walked out of Cook County Jail a free man.
“I knew [freedom] would come, I just didn’t know when,” the Chicago native said. “I didn’t think it would take 22 years, but I still have my life.”
He was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of 23-year-old Irving Clayton and 24-year-old Derrick Frazier, who were found shot to death in a burning car in January 1994.
Authorities allege the murders were the result of a drug deal gone bad.
A re-trial was ordered by Circuit judge Alfredo Maldonado, stating Bolden had a “substantial deprivation of constitutional rights” after his initial arrest.
During the initial trial, the one witness who testified was Frazier’s brother, who was also wounded in the shooting. He identified Bolden as the gunman—but three witnesses in last year’s retrial stated Bolden was playing an arcade game inside a restaurant at the time of the shooting.
“Each of the witnesses said exactly what two of the witnesses had said at trial—which is that Eddie was inside a fish restaurant at the time the shootings were happening outside,” said Bolden’s attorney Ron Safer. “These three people were totally impartial. They had never met Eddie before, but they remembered that he was in there and they testified to that at the hearing.”
The retrial resulted in Bolden being issued another retrial for this year, while being held on $1 million bail.
This year, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office decided to dismiss the case and drop the charges.
“I’m glad I’m out,” Bolden said. “It looks foreign, a lot of this wasn’t even out here when I left.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.