Man Jailed For 37 Years On Mu’rd’er Conviction Freed After Witness Admits She Lied

Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do? Chances are you have, it happens to almost everyone. Maybe as a kid you were accused of breaking something you didn’t, or as an adult you may have been accused of cheating on a spouse when you didn’t. But for Walter Forbes, a witness lied in court, and that lie landed him in prison for a total of 37 years.

As I write this, I’m 32 years old. Forbes spent my entire life, plus 5 years, behind bars for something that he didn’t do. It is an astoundingly long time to be punished for a crime you didn’t commit. But how did Forbes land in prison for so long?

In 1982, Forbes was a student at Jackson Community College working toward the goal of starting a real estate development firm after he graduated from college. One night, he witnessed a bar fight happening just outside of the bar and decided to intervene. One of the individuals involved in the bar fight, Dennis Hall, took revenge on Forbes the following day by shooting him four times.

Shortly after the shooting, Hall died after his apartment caught on fire. Investigators found that the fire was fueled in part by accelerants, including a gasoline container. Hall’s fiancé and young daughter were fortunately both able to escape the flames.

In an interview with CNN, Forbes reflected on that event. He says that, at the time, he thought they might try to pin the arson on him.

“Some way they’re going to try to frame this on me,” Forbes told CNN. “That thought went through my mind.“

His suspicion would come true three months later when Annice Kennebrew testified in court documents that she saw Forbes and two others carrying red gasoline containers near the building and pouring the gasoline out around it.

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