A woman found guilty of a McHenry County murder had her conviction overturned last week after serving 19 years of her 27 year sentence and maintaining her innocence throughout her imprisonment, according to Capitol News.
Jennifer McMullan was released from prison on June 16 as a result of a plea agreement entered in McHenry County court with the help of lawyers from the Illinois Innocence Project.
McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally’s plea deal to grant McMullan’s release and vacate her murder conviction depended on if she agreed to plead guilty to an armed robbery charge in the case, according to The Southern News.
Stephanie Kamel, one of McMullan’s attorneys at IIP, told The Southern News that her client faced an extremely difficult decision of whether to accept a plea to a lesser charge or remain wrongfully imprisoned for years to come.
“Driving her decision was her father, whose health is deteriorating rapidly due to Alzheimer’s disease,” Kamel said in a press release. “While we would like to have seen Jennifer’s conviction vacated with no plea agreement required, we are glad she is finally free and reunited with her family after an almost twenty year absence.”
McMullan was one of four people, along with Kenneth Smith, David Collett, and Justin Houghtaling, who were arrested for carrying out the attempted robbery and fatal shooting of Raul Briseno at a McHenry restaurant in March 2001, according to The Southern News.
McMullan’s release from prison comes less than two months after a federal appeals court released Smith from prison and vacated his murder conviction, overruling prior Illinois state courts’ decision in his case, stated Pantagraph News.
Attorneys for Smith and McMullan argued that the police overlooked credible confessions from members of the DeCicco group that contained details about the crime that police withheld from the public.