Monday, November 28, 2005

Former Death Row Inmate Arrested On Drug Charges In Caseyville

Jeff Small:

Verneal Jimerson

He was on death row for murder then exonerated nearly a decade later. Now a Chicago man is back behind bars after a crime in the metro east. Caseyville, Illinois, police say they had no idea a man they arrested on Thanksgiving had such an unusual past along with a stash of drugs.

A caller said drugs were being used in a third floor room. This call led Caseyville police to a Motel 6 and a man who was once the subject of a nationwide controversy.

Police were soon knocking on the door when Verneal Jimerson answered. Officers reportedly found marijuana and crack cocaine packaged to sell. There was also a loaded .38 caliber handgun.

Verneal Jimerson and his wife Angela were arrested following the incident. It wasn't until later police discovered the husband's unusual past. He was the subject of national headlines about his freedom from prison in 1996. Verneal Jimerson was freed after spending nearly a decade waiting to die by electric chair.

In 1985, Jimerson and three men were convicted of murdering a Chicago couple in 1978. Charges against the four were dropped after an independent investigation by The Innocence Project, a group of Chicago students and professors. The group found numerous flaws in the murder and rape case. A witness also recanted her testimony against the four.

In 1996, Cook County, Illinois authorites settled a $36 million dollar lawsuit with Verneal Jimerson and the three men originally accused of the 1978 murder.

It isn't clear what Jimerson was doing in Caseyville but police say his latest arrest could send him back to prison.

Jimerson is being held on a $250,000 bond.

Former Death Row Inmate Facing Drug, Weapons Charges

Verneal Jimerson

Police and prosecutorial misconduct put Verneal Jimerson on death row


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