Bennie Starks (NBC Chicago)

NBC CHICAGO – Today is the day Bennie Starks has been waiting for.

After spending 20 years in prison for a beating and rape he didn’t commit, Starks will be free of all charges.

Starks was convicted in 1986 of assaulting a 68-year-old woman and served 20 years of a 60-year sentence when DNA evidence was retrieved that excluded him from the crime. An appeals court ordered a new trial in 2006, and Starks was released on bond.

“This has been a great day,” Starks said in May after Lake County prosecutors dropped sexual assault charges in the decades-old Waukegan rape.

The State’s Attorney had previously threatened to retry Starks on the charges but dismissed the sexual assault counts.

“The fight is not over with yet,” he said at the time. “We still have one more hurdle.”

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