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Judge concludes Illinois man innocent in 1999 fatal shooting

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — A judge has concluded that an Illinois man who spent nearly 20 years behind bars wasn’t guilty of a crime in the fatal shooting that sent him to prison.

The Chicago Tribune reports Kankakee County Judge Michael Sabol granted Terrence Haynes a certificate of innocence Thursday after determining Haynes shouldn’t have been charged in the fatal 1999 shooting of Cezaire Murrell. Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe joined in the petition of innocence.

A jury convicted Haynes of murder after a trial in which an 11-year-old witness testified Murrell was unarmed when Haynes shot him. But that witness — now an adult — recanted his testimony and says his cousin and another Kankakee County prosecutor encouraged him to lie.

An appellate court earlier this year ordered Haynes’ release from prison.

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