Eddie Bolden free after serving 22 years for wrongful conviction

Eddie Bolden - Photo Credit: (Illinois Department of Corrections)
Eddie Bolden (Photo credit: Illinois Department of Corrections)

Eddie Bolden, 46, spent the last 22 years in prison after being convicted of two drug-related murders. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Irving Clayton and Derrick Fraizer. Clayton and Fraizer were killed after a drug deal gone wrong on the South Side of Chicago. On April 19,  the Cook County state’s attorney dropped the double murder charges against Bolden.

Bolden was convicted in 1994 based on the testimony of one eyewitness who identified him as the gunman in the double murder. Three witnesses interviewed by an investigator said that Bolden was inside a South Side restaurant when the murders occurred.

“These witnesses should have testified 22 years ago, and had they, Eddie would not have spent anytime in jail,” said Bolden’s attorney, Rod Safer

Bolden petitioned for years to receive a new trial basically arguing that his attorney did not fight hard enough for him. Had Bolden had more aggressive counsel, it might not have taken 22 years for him to gain his freedom. The three witnesses who have presented themselves would have helped his case decades ago.

In June 2014, an Illinois Appellate Court ruled Bolden “has made a substantial showing of ineffective assistance of trial counsel” and ordered a post-conviction hearing.

“I just didn’t accept the life sentence. They said I had life, I didn’t say I had life and I worked on coming home,” Bolden said about how he coped with being convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.

“Based upon the Judge’s ruling and our continuing evaluation of the facts and the evidence in this case, it has been determined that we are unable to meet our burden of proof and therefore unable to proceed with the prosecution,” said the Cook county state’s attorney via a statement.

Bolden will go home to his family, celebrate his freedom and the graduation of his son, who is now 21 years old.

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