Judge drops charges for Philadelphia man who spent 9 years behind bars

Flashpoint
January 26, 2019 - 4:00 am
Jamaal Simmons (right) and his brother, Akeem. Jamaal was sentenced to 15 to 30 years behind bars in 2012 for a crime he says he didn't commit. A judge dropped the charges last month.

Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia man who spent nine years behind bars for a crime he says he didn't commit is now free.

Jamaal Simmons was sentenced to 15 to 30 years behind bars in 2012. Prosecutors argued he drove the van that was linked to a 2009 shooting, which claimed the life of an innocent Philadelphia Housing Authority worker and father of four. 

Simmons was linked to the murder by a single witness who recanted his statement. He maintained his innocence.  

Last month, a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge dropped the charges against Simmons. Records are sealed as to why and the judge never explained his reasoning in open court.  

Simmons said he was taken back to his prison when he was told that he'd be set free.

"He told me they threw the case out and I'd be set free the following day," recalled Simmons. "I wasn't even excited because I was so used them dragging it along."

Simmons' case is one of nearly a handful overturned because of a link to fired homicide detective Philip Nordo. So far, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office hasn't refilled charges and declined to comment on the case. 

FOP lawyer Fred Perri also declined to comment. The family of the victim declined to comment on the decision.