Imprisoned man studies law, clears himself of murder - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Imprisoned man studies law, clears himself of murder

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A Chicago man, imprisoned for decades, is now a free man after taking the law into his own hands. (Source: WLS/CNN) A Chicago man, imprisoned for decades, is now a free man after taking the law into his own hands. (Source: WLS/CNN)

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, IL (WLS/CNN) – A Chicago man, imprisoned for decades, is now a free man after taking the law into his own hands.

"In my case it's plain and simple,” Rodell Sanders said. “I was framed for a murder I did not commit."

Twenty years ago, Sanders went to prison for a murder in Chicago Heights, IL. A man was shot dead in a garage, and a woman was badly wounded.

Police targeted Sanders as the shooter.

"This case is the embodiment of a shoddy police investigation," Sanders’ attorney Russell Ainsworth said.

Sanders and his lawyers have filed suit, contending that Chicago Heights police detectives purposely doctored a line-up photo to manipulate a witness and used a paid snitch to win a conviction.

Why did police do this? Sanders was, at the time, a high-ranking gang member and putting him behind bars would cripple the gang and be a public relations plus.

In prison, Sanders says he spent 10 to 12 hours every day, seven days a week, learning the law.

"I just committed myself to the law. I didn't want to die I prison,” Sanders said. “I wanted to go back out there and make it to my children and make it to my family."

Because of his pro-se effort and the help of attorneys who believed, Sanders is again a free man, back with a family he has known only from behind prison bars for two decades.

He was finally reunited with his family on Wednesday, after a jury in his second re-trail found him not guilty of the 1993 murder on Tuesday.

"Like I tell him all the time, like I can't even believe all the things he's done. He's a talker, without doubt, so yeah, it's unbelievable," his daughter Lynette Booth said.

Mixed with the joy of freedom and family, there is also some fear of re-entering society. How does one start over and what do they do?

"I want to go out. I want to work. I love law. I love the law. I love the courtroom. I'd love to go on and be a paralegal or a lawyer or something like that,” Sanders said. “I would like to go to school I would like to work, I want to spend time with family, I'd like to get involved in the community."

Sanders will be back in a federal courtroom as part of the civil suit he has filed against the Chicago Heights and the eight officers involved in his case.

Copyright 2014 WLS via CNN. All rights reserved.