CHICAGO — “Certificates of innocence” have been awarded to two Illinois men who spent nearly a quarter century in prison before DNA testing exonerated him of a 1994 rape and murder.

Nevest Coleman’s eyes were rimmed with tears after Cook County Circuit Judge LeRoy K. Martin handed down the court order Friday.

Coleman and Darryl Fulton were convicted in the slaying of a 20-year-old woman whose body was found in the basement of a home on Chicago’s South Side where Coleman lived.

Both Coleman and Fulton confessed but quickly recanted their confessions.

After DNA testing linked the crime to a serial rapist, the two men were released from prison in November.

Martin also signed off on a certificate for Fulton, who did not attend the brief hearing.

Attorney Russell Ainsworth says the certificate eliminates the rape and murder from Coleman’s and Martin’s records.

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