'I thanked the Creator.' Man wins freedom after COVID-19 delays, philosophical change on teenage sentences

CHICAGO — A man once sentenced to life in prison for murder as a teenager has won his freedom after serving 26 years behind bars — including a monthslong series of delays that kept him locked up during the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

LaRon Warren said he “almost broke down” as the judge reduced his sentence.

“I thanked the Creator. I said a silent prayer and thanked him,” Warren told the Tribune. He recalled his late mother, who advocated for sentencing reforms. “I know my mom was sitting beside the Creator rejoicing.”

Warren, 44, was convicted in the murder of Ebony Higgins, a pregnant teen who was shot dead on Easter Sunday in 1994. At the time, Warren was 17 and free on bail for a murder charge from the year before in what court documents describe as a drug deal gone bad.

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