George Allen Jr., who had spent 30 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, passed away on October 16.
“George was a gentle spirit,” his mother Lonzetta Taylor said in a statement on a fundraising site for his funeral costs. “Although more than three decades of his life were so unfairly taken away from him, no one could take his dignity or the joy that he brought to all of our lives. I am so proud of George because he stood strong even in the face of such incredible adversity.”
On November 2, 2012, Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green ordered Allen’s release after he overturned Allen’s 1982 rape and murder conviction based on the police’s failure to disclose numerous pieces of evidence pointing to his innocence. Attorneys at the New-York-based Innocence Project and local Bryan Cave lawyers together uncovered evidence that police withheld from the court in 1982, and they also obtained numerous rounds of new DNA testing on crime-scene evidence – all of which excluded Allen as the killer.
On the day of his release, Allen walked through the doors in a blue-plaid shirt and black slacks, and his family beamed. Judge Green kept the proceeding brief, and within minutes signed the order for Allen’s release. Seconds later, Allen walked straight into his mother’s arms as the courtroom roared in applause.
“I hadn’t touched him in years,” Taylor said that day. “We’ve always spoken behind a glass. There are no words that could describe how that felt.”
Taylor said prison was difficult on George. He lost one of his eyes in an assault by another prisoner.
“Throughout this time, I was scared that I would never get another chance to hold my son or make him a home-cooked meal,” Taylor said. “But in 2012, our prayers were answered. George enjoyed four years of freedom before his untimely death last weekend.”
Taylor said she is requesting assistance because she cannot afford the costs of a funeral for her only son.
“The donated funds will help me make sure that my son receives a proper burial that honors his life,” she said. “Thank you in advance for your generosity. I am very grateful for your support during this difficult time.”
To donate to the funeral costs, visit https://www.razoo.com/us/story/Inlovingmemoryofgeorgeallen.