When Alstory Simon walked out of prison on the last day of October, it was 15 years since he had first confessed to murdering a young couple by the side of a pool. At the time it looked like justice served.

But not long after, Simon started claiming that he’d been set up. He said he was lied to and coerced into giving his confession by people working with a group called the Innocence Project, which was trying to exonerate a different man—Anthony Porter—who had been convicted earlier of killing the young couple. Simon’s story was hard to believe. If he was an innocent man, why had he confessed, on more than one occasion, to being a murderer? And why would the Innocence Project, an esteemed group dedicated to freeing the wrongly imprisoned, have framed an innocent man?

For years, few paid attention to Simon’s claims or the appeals from his lawyers and his small group of supporters. Then a few weeks ago, the state’s attorney released Simon and vindicated his account. Fortunes reversed and what was far-fetched yesterday was suddenly closer to fact.