Rockford Man Acquitted After 23 Years In Prison
One man walked into a Winnebago County courtroom unsure if he was leaving it a free man.
Patrick Pursley is now a free man after spending 23 years behind bars for a crime that he has now been acquitted of.
In 1993, Pursley was charged with the murder of Andrew Ascher and then convicted in 1994.
As of Wednesday, those charges have been officially overturned and Pursley was able to leave the courtroom a free man.
Pursley said after being acquitted:
I'm very grateful that the judge was methodical and took his time with this, and just saw the evidence for what it was,
The judge he's referring to is Judge Joesph McGraw.
McGraw found that there wasn't enough physical evidence to convict Pursley again. He also felt that there was a constant theme involving the 9mm gun which had been tested by the Illinois State Police.
I could no longer conclude that the bullets wer fired from [that gun],"
All of this was started by a letter written to criminal justice advocate for Northwestern University Steven Drizin, who you may recognize if you've seen Making a Murderer Part 2.
Wednesday Drizin said that letter Pursley told him the gun seized from his home did not fire the bullets and he was innocent.
That letter then led to a retrial, which ended with Pursley's acquittal Wednesday.
Pursley has said that he now plans on pursuing a certificate of innocence.