A man who spent 32 years in prison after a wrongful murder conviction was released from custody Thursday, officials said.
Andrew Wilson, 62, was ordered released after a hearing Wednesday that found his constitutional rights were violated when prosecutors involved in his case withheld evidence and because of the unreliability of an eyewitness.
He walked out of Men’s Central Jail, after spending more than half his life in prison, a free man.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office officials said prosecutors were no longer confident of the conviction and the office will not retry Wilson.
Paula Mitchell, legal director of Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent, which worked on Wilson’s case, said her client had maintained his innocence since he was arrested in Dec. 1984 in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 21-year-old man in Los Angeles.
“Numerous due process violations that recently came to light show conclusively that Mr. Wilson did not receive a fair trial,” Mitchell said. “He has never wavered and never stopped fighting to prove his innocence.”
A judge will rule rule on his factual innocence at a later hearing, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Wilson was wearing a Loyola T-shirt when he walked out of jail Thursday and was holding the hands of his daughter and niece. He was embraced by other family members and advocates.
He told reporters that he isn’t bitter about his wrongful conviction or his time spent in prison, but he is concerned about making up for lost time.
“I’m happy that I’m the end of it now, and my family is alright, and I’m alright, and my health is good,” Wilson said.
Wilson, 62, plans to return to St. Louis, where he can spend time with his mother, Margie Davis, who will turn 97 on May 1.