Willie Simmons, a 64-year old man from Escambia County, Alabama, is still in prison almost 40 years after he stole $9 and was convicted of first-degree robbery and was sentenced to life without parole.
He had 3 prior convictions and remains in prison until this day due to Alabama’s Habitual Offender law. This law was passed in the 1970s and drastically increases the punishments for second, third, and fourth convictions.
Simmons, an Army veteran who became addicted to drugs while assigned overseas, was 25-years old when he was arrested and charged. He hasn’t had a visitor since 2005 after his sister passed away.
He does not deny committing the crime. He admits that he was “high on drugs” when he tackled a man to the ground and stole his wallet that contained $9. He says that was “trying to get a quick fix.”
Over the past four decades, he has filed for several appeals. All of them have been denied.