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Exonerated man who spent 12 years in jail sues after key witness is revealed to be blind

Exonerated man who spent 12 years in jail sues after key witness is revealed to be blind

Darien Harris was sentenced 76 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit

An exonerated man who spent 12 years in prison is suing after a key witness in the investigation turned out to be legally blind.

Darien Harris, 31, was sentenced to 76 years behind bars at the age of 18 after being found guilty of first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Rondell Moore at a gas station.

Moore was shot three times during the 2011 shooting after he pulled up to refuel.

NBC News reported Moore ran to a parking lot following the shooting, the location where he passed away.

A man who tried to help the victim was also shot and injured.

When the shooting occurred, Harris said he was at home watching a basketball game.

However, a witness came forward in the days following to identify Harris as the shooter.

He was arrested a few days later.

Harris investigated his own case while in prison, with the help of several mentors and attorneys Lauren Myerscough-Mueller of the Exoneration Project and Pat Blegen of Blegen & Associates.

Darien Harris spent 12 years behind bars. (CBS)
Darien Harris spent 12 years behind bars. (CBS)

According to a Facebook post by the Exoneration Project, it was later discovered at the time of the crime the witness who picked out Harris from a line-up had severely limited visibility as a result of suffering from advanced glaucoma.

In fact, the witness was even determined as legally blind by doctors in 2003.

Harris' lawyers stated they were not made aware of this fact at trial, accusing the witness of lying.

"Justice is supposed to be blind. The eyewitness is not supposed to be blind," his lawyer Lauren Myerscough-Mueller said.

Following the latest evidence, Harris was able to walk free in December.

Despite now being free, Harris is suing the city and police department, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Harris is now suing. (CBS)
Harris is now suing. (CBS)

The exonerated man alleges that police fabricated evidence and compelled witnesses into making false statements.

After getting out of prison, Harris spoke with CBS Chicago and took the opportunity to thank everyone who 'believed' in him despite his sentencing.

Although he is now free, Harris says he's struggled since being back in the normal world.

“I don’t have any financial help. I’m still (treated like) a felon, so I can’t get a good job. It’s hard for me to get into school,” he told the Tribune. “I’ve been so lost.

"I feel like they took a piece of me that is hard for me to get back."

UNILAD has reached out to the Chicago Police Department for comment.

Featured Image Credit: CBS News/Harris family/Exonerated Project

Topics: Crime, US News