Vincent Simmons back in court for first time in 40 years

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MARKSVILLE, La. (KALB) - Vincent Simmons, the Mansura man serving 100 years in Angola for the attempted aggravated rape of twin girls in Avoyelles Parish back in the 70s, made his way into the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse Wednesday morning for the first time in 40 years.

Source: KALB

Simmons’ attorney, Robert Hjortsberg claims that "newly discovered and explosive evidence" supports Simmons’ claim of innocence.

Back in July, an application for post-conviction was filed on Simmons’ behalf. Simmons has maintained his innocence from the beginning.

But, before the application could be discussed, the court was to hear a motion to recuse Judge Kerry Spruill due to his association with Eddie Knoll, the original prosecutor on the case.

So on Monday, Hjortsberg called Spruill to the stand as his only witness. Judge William Bennett will make the final decision.

"If he does in fact believe that Judge Spruill can be fair and impartial, then the case will stay with him,” said Hjortsberg. “If he believes that based on his involvement with the case, then Judge Bennett will be the one to hear the case. So once that determination is made, whichever judge is hearing the case will make a determination of whether we get an evidentiary hearing, and we'll have the evidentiary hearing, and so on and so forth."

Hjortsberg has two weeks to send Judge Bennett a brief on the hearing, and the State has two weeks after that to respond. Judge Bennett will make his decision after that.

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