Cleveland man fighting to clear his name in murder files appeal

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Cuyahoga County Justice Center (Fox 8 file photo)

CLEVELAND– An appeal was filed in the case of a man fighting to clear his name after serving nearly two decades in prison for a murder he claimed he didn’t commit, the FOX 8 I-Team learned.

Anthony Lemons’ conviction was ultimately overturned after he spent more than 18 years behind bars

He was finally acquitted in Cuyahoga County Common Please Court in 2014 of that charge, but his fight to prove he was wrongfully convicted in continuing.

In order to receive compensation for being wrongfully convicted, he needs a declaration from a judge saying he was actually innocent.

He filed a motion last year. But in May Cuyahoga County Judge Daniel Gaul ruled that Lemons failed to prove his innocence.

Lemons and his attorneys David Malik , Sara Gedeon, Kevin Spellacy and Alphonse Gerhardstein appealed the decision.

“I had 18 years of my life gone,” Lemons said. ” I have no work experience now. It’s so hard to even find a job.”

Lemons has maintained from the time he was arrested that he did not kill Eric Sims in 1994.

But Gaul, in his ruling, cited a written statement sent to the parole board from one of Lemons attorneys prior to his release, saying Lemon had shown remorse by “his willingness to plead guilty to all charges.”

But Lemons said that letter was not written on his behalf and was not even about his case.

“I was denied parole many times because I would not admit I did these crimes because I didn’t ,” Lemons said.

Copies of his parole papers show he continually denied committing the crime.

He also passed a polygraph test. (Click here to read polygraph results.)

His attorneys said in 2013, he was granted a new trial when it was learned there were police reports never released to his original defense team in 1995 and an eyewitness said Lemons was wearing a certain type of shoes when the murder took place.

However, his defense team found those shoes weren’t even made until after the April 1994 shooting.

Defense attorneys also said they were not told there were other people named as the potential shooter in the case.

Lemons has started a GoFundMe account to help pay for his expenses.

“I will never stop fighting to prove my innocence,” Lemons said.