Francisco Benitez free after judge vacates murder conviction

Francisco Benitez was greeted by family members in Chicago on Tuesday after he was freed from his life sentence for two murders when a judge vacated his sentence Tuesday. He spent 34 years in prison. (Screengrab from Chicago Fox affiliate WFLD)

A man who has spent more than three decades behind bars for the 1989 murders of two boys in Chicago went free Tuesday after a judge vacated his sentence.

Judge Sophia Atcherson granted Francisco Benitez’s petition on innocence grounds and gave him a personal recognizance bond, according to a press release from the Exoneration Project.

Benitez was just 18 years old when he was arrested on two first-degree murder charges in the April 28, 1989, slayings of Prudencio Cruz and William Sanchez, both 14. He was convicted three years later and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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