Anthony Ray Hinton walked out of the Jefferson County Jail a free man for the first time in 30 years at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 3, 2015.
"The sun does shine," he said as he was embraced by family and friends.
Mr. Hinton spent 30 years on death row for a crime he did not commit.
One of the longest serving death row prisoners in Alabama history and among the longest serving condemned prisoners to be freed after presenting evidence of innocence, Mr. Hinton is the 152nd person exonerated from death row since 1983.
After 12 more years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the lower courts, and a new trial was granted. The judge finally dismissed the charges after prosecutors said that scientists at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences tested the evidence and confirmed that the crime bullets cannot be matched to the Hinton weapon.
After 30 years in custody for crimes he did not commit, Mr. Hinton’s release is bittersweet. “We are thrilled that Mr. Hinton will finally be released because he has unnecessarily spent years on Alabama’s death row when evidence of his innocence was clearly presented,” said his lead attorney, Bryan Stevenson. “The refusal of state prosecutors to re-examine this case despite persuasive and reliable evidence of innocence is disappointing and troubling.”