Man freed from jail 32 years after wrongful murder conviction

Greg Milam, US Correspondent

A man who served 32 years in prison for a crime he says he did not commit has told Sky News he never gave up believing he would be released.

Andrew Wilson, 62, walked free from a jail in Los Angeles after a judge threw out his murder conviction and vacated his sentence.

He is likely to be formally cleared of the charge within a few weeks.

He was greeted by family members, some of whom he had never met, when he was released from LA's Men's Central jail.

A few hours later, he described to Sky News the emotions of that moment.

"It scared me," he said. "But it was a good moment, it was a happy moment for me because I got a chance, not to just sit and talk to them, but I had the chance to hug my loved ones and tell them that I love them."

Mr Wilson was convicted of robbing and killing 21-year-old Christopher Hanson as he slept in a parked car with his girlfriend in south-central Los Angeles in October 1984.

He has always maintained he was not guilty and student campaigners from the Project for the Innocent at the city's Loyola Law School took up his case in 2015.

Prosecutors admitted that a series of errors had prevented Mr Wilson from receiving a fair trial. They are not expected to take any further action against him.

The court heard that key evidence had been withheld from the jury during the original trial including that which showed Mr Hanson's girlfriend was not a credible witness.

Mr Wilson says he "doesn't have time" to be angry at those who put him in jail. "If I do that, I'm taking good energy and wasting it when I can be spending that energy on my family.

"I don't have time to waste being mad or thinking of something negative. Life is too short."

He said the fight to prove his innocence kept him going while he was inside.

"You just do it," he said. "You keep your fight going. It's like anything else, if there is something that you want you have to fight for it and you never give up.

"If you know you're innocent, you never give up.

"I'm glad I didn't give up."

Mr Wilson said being outside had come as a shock. "It is all so space-age now. I haven't had movement like this, seen movement like this, just 32 years of being confined."

He paid tribute to the law students who campaigned for him, saying he would give his life for them.

A court will decide in May whether Mr Wilson should now be ruled innocent of the crime. That would open the way for him to receive compensation from the state of California.

His mother spent years trying to get attention for his case. He will now be with her when she turns 97 in a few weeks' time.

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