UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-SPRINGFIELD (WCIA) — One man finally gets a taste of freedom after serving 22-years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit.
It’s a bittersweet return for 62-year old Bill Amor, but it’s all thanks to the hard work of students, volunteers and lawyers from the UIS Innocence Project.
They’ve been working on the case for more than a decade. The time he spent in prison is nearly one-third of his life. 23-years if you add the year he spent in court after being acquitted.
DuPage County challenged the ruling. Fortunately, for him, the judge ruled again in his favor.
It just happened, Friday, February 23, so Amor says he’s still very overwhelmed and just trying to wrap his mind around it all.
“You have to find faith, I mean, it’s different for everybody has their own way they get through it.”
That’s how Amor managed to cope for 22-years in prison after being wrongly convicted of killing his mother-in-law in a fire.
After a false confession and little evidence, he was sentenced to 45-years. But, thanks to those in UIS’ Innocence Project, today, he’s a free man. Amor says,
“I’m really grateful for all the work they’ve done. I wouldn’t be free without them.”
It’s why he came to thank all those who worked hard to bring him justice.
Innocence Project Director Larry Golden says, “I can’t describe the feelings that we have when people like Bill walk out of prison.”
Ultimately, newly discovered scientific evidence proved Amor’s innocence. Nationally-recognized arson experts, who testified in court, determined it was impossible for him to have started the fire.
Right now, he and his attorneys are working to get him wrongful conviction compensation. The most he can receive is $200,000.
Amor says the feeling is bittersweet. While in prison, he lost several family members, including his brother and dad. He says he’s not bitter. He plans to make the most of the time he has left.
Amor is the eleventh person to walk free thanks to UIS’ Innocence Project. The program has been around since 2001.
A formal celebration will take place for Amor at the program’s next dinner, April 28, in Springfield.