An accused killer was let free on bond Monday after spending decades behind bars.
Cleve Heidelberg was convicted of the first degree murder of a Peoria County Sheriff’s Deputy in the 1970’s. That conviction was vacated in April. Earlier this month, a judge set his bond at $500,000.
Heidelberg says his release came as a surprise Monday. He was expecting it to happen later in the week if his attorneys could raise enough money for his bond. Attorney Andy Hale says he’s happy to see justice after years of court battles. Heidelberg says it’s going to take some time to adjust to freedom after nearly 50 years behind bars.
“We put the facts, we put the evidence and that’s what the evidence showed,” says Heidelberg. “I did not do what had been alleged against me, I did not do what I was convicted of and what I had been held in prison all these years for. I am an innocent man.”
Heidelberg is expected back in Peoria County Court Thursday. He’s wearing a GPS tracker, coordinated through the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, which is where he’s expected to live. He’s not allowed to leave the state and still faces the possibility of re-trial in the case.