PEORIA, Ill. — A 75-year-old central Illinois man who spent 47 years behind bars for a murder he insisted he didn’t commit has died just 10 months after his release.

The (Peoria) Journal Star reports that Cleve Heidelberg was found dead at his Peoria apartment Saturday. The county coroner says a Sunday autopsy was inconclusive but that foul play isn’t suspected.

Heidelberg was convicted of killing Sheriff’s Deputy Raymond Espinoza during a 1970 robbery. A circuit judge ordered a new trial after a 2017 case review and Heidelberg was released on bond last May.

Heidelberg’s attorney, Andy Hale, said his client was “just beginning to live” again. A private investigator who helped review the case, Marcella Teplitz, says she’s grateful Heidelberg had been “breathing free air” before he died.


Information from: Journal Star, http://pjstar.com

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