Eddie Bolden was greeted by friends and family as he walked out of Cook County Jail a free man after spending 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in Chicago. A Cook County judge threw out murder convictions against Bolden, the fatal shooting of two men in 1994, and prosecutors declined to retry him. Bolden was 46 years old at the time of his release.
At his 1996 trial, a county jury convicted Bolden based on the testimony of Clifford Frazier, who was wounded in the shooting in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. Frazier’s brother, Derrick, and another man were killed.
“When I stepped outside … there’s a difference between stepping out on a prison yard and seeing daylight and stepping outside outside. I still can’t explain it. It was like I stepped into a whole new world for real,” he said.
Private investigator Susan Carlson worked with Bolden and his family and found key alibi witnesses who had been overlooked at the original trial who ultimately led to his release.
Bolden spent the following year readjusting to life and reconnecting with his family and three children, Dominique, 23, Antonio, 25, and Bryana, 26.
This story won an honorable mention award in NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism 2018.