After 11 Years in Prison for Murder He Didn’t Commit, L.A. Man Is Free

DeAndre Howard spent more than a decade in prison for a murder he knew he didn’t commit. After years of fighting for his innocence from behind bars, a federal judge had finally granted him an appeal. Prosecutors, he said, gave him a choice.

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DeAndre Howard spends his first evening as a free man with his niece Briana Brown, 7, and other friends and family at his aunt Valdine Brown’s home in Torrance, Dec. 21, 2013 (Credit: Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times)

He could plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and get out in time for a Thanksgiving dinner with his family. Or he could go back to trial and risk spending the rest of his life in prison.  He chose trial. That felt final. It felt right.

“There was no need to compromise your integrity just so you can go free,” he said. “I felt that’s something you have to hold firm to even if your life is on the line.”

On Friday, after 11 years behind bars, Howard, 31, walked out of a courtroom in downtown Los Angeles a free man after a jury acquitted him of murder and attempted murder.

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