JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Thirteen years after being wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life, a Jackson man was gunned downed on the street.
The tragic end to his life Monday, June 24, is a mystery police are working to solve.
"I was innocent and people were telling me yeah everybody says that, but I was telling the truth," said Cedric Willis during a September 2007 news conference on wrongful convictions.
He had been wrongfully convicted of murder and armed robbery.
Residents said they heard seven gunshots, but saw nothing.
The victim’s mother Elayne Willis said she did not know what happened, but she knows that he was walking home.
He lived nearby on Vardaman Street.
In 1997, Willis was sentenced to life in prison.
Attorney Emily Maw with the Innocence Project New Orleans worked to free Willis after DNA and other evidence was presented.
He became a free man in March of 2006.
Maw said she saw Willis and his girlfriend three weeks ago at the annual Innocence Project New Orleans Gala Dinner, and he was doing really well. The lawyer is saddened by his death.
“There are several ways that poor black men get hurt in this country,” said Maw. “One is gun violence, and the other is when the criminal justice system fails them. Cedric has now been a victim of both of those things.”
After his release, the state awarded Willis $500,000 paid over ten years.
The City of Jackson reached a settlement, awarding him $195,000 in 2012.
So far, Jackson police said they have no suspects or leads in this case.