- Associated Press - Monday, December 17, 2018

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - A judge has granted a certificate of innocence to a northern Illinois man who spent 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Forty-two-year-old John Horton Jr. of Rockford won the certificate Monday from Winnebago County Judge Joseph McGraw. Horton tells the Rockford Register Star that he’s “blessed by the outcome.”

Horton was 17 when he was charged with the Sept. 19, 1993, murder and armed robbery of Arthur Castaneda at a Rockford restaurant. He was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison. The Illinois Appellate Court ruled in 2016 he should receive a new trial, and a judge granted a special prosecutor’s request to dismiss the case . Another man has confessed to the crime.

The certificate of innocence allows Horton to seek financial compensation.

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Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com

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