An innocent Rockford man who spent more than a decade behind bars for a murder he didn't commit gets written proof. Step by step, Alan Beaman's gotten back to a life outside of prison walls.
"I had never used a cell phone in my life before, I had to re-learn how to drive a car and those things we take for granted I think. Just figuring out how to feel normal again, not to feel so conspicuous in a crowd as I have felt." -Beaman explains.
He was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in the mid 1990's for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lockmiller. She was an Illinois State University student at the time. Beaman served 13 years of that before Illinois Supreme Court justices reversed the decision in 2008. He's worked for the last five years for a certificate of innocence from state government. On Thursday, Beaman finally got it.
"It's important to have public acknowledgement of my innocence. McLean County has never acknowledged that they've never admitted and frankly they still haven't admitted that I didn't commit this crime. They did withdraw from opposing me."
When he first got out, even with a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court ruling in his favor, life was hard.
"Employment was a difficult roller coaster for me at first. I did not always find healthy pleasant reactions from people, not just employment, but finding an apartment, all of those things were more difficult."
Despite everything he's been through, Beaman rises above feelings of anger towards the people who put him behind bars.
"I'm going to keep a positive attitude about it, especially in the process of trying to bring accountability, I need to set a good example for what my attitude is going to be."
It's far from over for Beaman. He's in the middle of a civil suit, suing two former prosecutors in the case, several police officers, the town of Normal and McLean County.
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