The Black American man was prosecuted in 1982 and convicted for stealing $9 and has already spent 38 years in jail, reports say.

The online petition has been launched for the man identified as Simmons on Change.org to seek a reconsideration of his sentence and to get him released.

Reports say the man was an Army veteran with the US military when he was prosecuted in 1982.

He had three prior convictions, one of which was for grand theft. He told reporter Beth Shellbure the other two were for receiving stolen property.

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Simons was convicted of 1st-degree robbery and sentenced to life without parole for stealing $9.

He has filed several appeals over the years while in prison for a reconsideration of his penalty without any legal assistance but all his appeals have been denied.

Now, a 2014 change in Alabama laws makes his chances of filing any appeal which might lead to his release almost impossible.

An activist, Makehru Bradley who was touched by the convict’s plight launched the petition with a target of 4.5 million signatures, appealing to justice Governor Kay Ivey to commute Mr. Simmons's sentence.

The petition has gotten a little less than 4 million signatures already.