21 years ago, Tyrone Hood went to jail for the murder of Marshall Morgan, a crime many believe he did not commit.
Since then, he's battled his way out of prison but hasn't enjoyed true freedom.
Details of Hood's case support his plea for a full pardon and his innocence. Three out of the four witnesses against Hood complained of police coercion and physical abuse, and recanted their testimony before trial; the fourth witness was discredited by scientific evidence. The only evidence remaining against Hood is a pile of trash that included a bottle with his fingerprints at the scene.
The man many now suspect of killing Marshall Morgan is his father, Marshall Morgan, Sr., who took out a $50,000 insurance policy on his life only months before he died. When you put that next to the following evidence, it's a pretty frightening revelation:
In 1977, Morgan, Sr. was convicted of killing his friend William Hall over a debt Mr. Hall owed him. Morgan, Sr. shot and killed Mr. Hall and left his body to die near his abandoned car.
In early 1994, Morgan, Sr. took out another life insurance policy, this time on his girlfriend Michelle Soto. Shortly thereafter, he took out a $16,700 loan on a separate life insurance policy in his name and later told his friends and family that he "was about to come into some money." A month later, Michelle Soto was shot, with her body found stashed in the same exact manner as Marshall Morgan, Jr.'s: wedged between the front and back seats of her abandoned car. Morgan, Sr. was the last person to see Soto alive. He collected $107,000 from the life insurance policy he took out on her.
Finally, in 2001, Morgan, Sr. was arrested for the murder of his then-fiancé Deborah Jackson. Ms. Jackson was shot and killed and left to die in her abandoned car. Morgan, Sr. told the Cook County State's Attorney's Conviction Integrity Unit that he and Ms. Jackson were fighting over $25,000 that she took from him. Morgan, Sr. was convicted of Ms. Jackson's murder.
You can watch his confession here.
The case surrounding the death of Morgan's son was detailed heavily in a 2014 New Yorker piece, which indicates much of the key evidence against Morgan, Sr., who is still in prison today.
After being released on January 12th of this year, his sentence commuted by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Hood has run into a slate of new challenges.
Among them is the fact that he is still required to wear an ankle monitor. His murder conviction also remains on his record. That means that every time Hood applies for a job, and anytime he leaves his home, he will be seen as a former convict under the surveillance of police.
"I feel like I'm still closed in, like I'm still locked up in a sense," Hood told A+. "I thought I was free, but you don't have your freedom. You really don't."
The big reason Hood's parole is so harsh is that the sentence he is still technically convicted of carries extremely rigid parole guidelines, whether there is clemency or not.
"The outgoing Governor wanted to do the right thing — let an innocent man out of prison — and he did so without the political and financial drawbacks of granting Tyrone a full pardon," Eva Nagao, Managing Director of Exoneration Project, told A+.
In the event of a full pardon, Hood would be eligible to receive compensation for his wrongful incarceration under state law.
Hood has created a petition on Change.org to put pressure on Cook County, Illinois to vacate his conviction. When we spoke to him on the phone, he was out shopping for a shirt and a tie with his niece.
"Do you think an employer is going to go, 'Let's check with your parole officer to see if you can come in today?'" Hood asked. "He needs a man that can come out and work everyday. I ain't going to get no job like that. They're going to shoot that down at the door."
Before his conviction, Hood made a career rehabbing buildings, in carpentry and working on vehicles. At 51 years old, he thinks if he can get back to those trades he'll finally be at peace.
"If you wanted me to have a productive life, how could you expect me to have that if I have an ankle monitor and parole?" Hood said. "Give me back what I had before any of this happened."
Well, guess what? You can help apply the pressure by simply signing this petition. Go here to give them your signature and give Hood a voice, and then click one of the share buttons below to spread the word.
Photo by Stefan Ruiz, contributed by Change.org