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Gary man out of prison after 24 years, convictions vacated

January 28, 2016

A 47-year-old Gary man has been released after spending 24 years in prison for robbery and murder convictions that were overturned on appeal.

The (Munster) Times reports that 47-year-old Willie T. Donald walked out of the Lake County Jail at 8:45 a.m. Thursday and posed for a picture with his mother, Lillie Donald. Lake County Prosecutor Bernard A. Carter said Wednesday afternoon that he dismissed all pending charges against Donald.

Donald's convictions were vacated Monday after the court ruled that a woman's identification of Donald in the 1992 case was flawed and that Gary police hid that from Donald and his trial attorney.

Defense attorney Thomas Vanes says Donald's mother, sister and brother-in-law are in Gary and "in his corner." Vanes called the case a rare victory.

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