2 men convicted of murder in separate cases exonerated this week

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia Courts saw two exonerations of murder convictions in one week.

On Wednesday, John Miller was released from prison and greeted by his family who fought for his innocence every day he remained behind bars.

"I'm very happy and excited that after 21 years I'm finally being heard and that my innocence has reached the surface," said John Miller. "I'm going home to my family. I'm overwhelmed, excited, and happy. I have a good team who helped me through this. Without them, I don't know what would have happened or where I would have been."

In 1998, a jury found Miller guilty of second-degree murder in the 1996 slaying of Anthony Mullen, a parking lot attendant who was shot and killed near 30th Street Station.

For the past eight years, Tom Gallagher of the Center City law firm Pepper Hamilton worked pro bono on the case with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Miller's case hung largely on the statement from a former family friend who said Miller shot Mullen but the witness recanted at trial.

Yesterday, Chester Hollman's murder conviction was also overturned. He served 28 years for a murder he did not commit.

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Wrongly convicted man freed after 28 years. John Rawlins has more on Action News at 4 p.m. on July 30, 2019.

"We are trying to create a system so we can systematically look at these cases and determine whether or not the case has any merit or if it doesn't," said Patricia Cummings, who heads the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office's newly expanded Conviction Integrity Unit.

Cummings says they keep the victims in mind and have resources to help them deal with the inevitable reopening of old wounds when they learn a loved one's case may suddenly become unsolved.
In total there have been nine exonerations since District Attorney Larry Krasner was elected.

Nilam Sanghvi of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project said they expect more exonerations to come.

"We have 6,000 people who have written to us asking us to review their cases since 2009. We have about 40 clients that are actively representing in court or asking the DA's office to take another look at their cases," said Sanghvi.

Lynne Abraham was the district attorney for both these convictions.

Abraham told Action News, "The court has spoken and there is really nothing else to say."
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