Wrongfully Convicted California Man Freed After 32 Years

By ROBERT JABLON, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andrew Leander Wilson, a broad smile on his face and no bitterness in his heart, clasped hands with his family on his first day of freedom Thursday after spending 32 years in prison for a murder he denied committing.

Wilson, 62, was released from the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail downtown into a sea of cameras and cheers and applause from university law students who worked to free him.

“This is unbelievable. This is unbelievable,” Wilson said.

Wilson maintained his innocence since his arrest in 1984 for the stabbing death of Christopher Hanson, 21, in Los Angeles.

A day earlier, Superior Court Judge Laura Priver ordered Wilson released after prosecutors conceded he did not get a fair trial.

Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent, which fought for Wilson’s release, pointed to numerous due-process violations.

“It’s been a nightmare but I survived and got to the end of the road,” Wilson said.

Wearing a red Loyola shirt, Wilson held hands with his sister and daughter. His 15-year-old granddaughter was by their sides.

Wilson said he holds no bitterness because that would be “a waste of time.”

“Believe it or not, I think I’m all right upstairs,” he said, drawing laughter from his family members.

“I still have a parent,” Wilson’s daughter, Catrina Burks, 43, of Muskegon, Michigan.

“It’s been a long 32 years and I’m glad that it’s over…I stayed hopeful all the way,” said Gwen Wilson, 49, of Inglewood, California.

She was 14 when her brother was sent to prison.

“It was scary because it is my brother and he would never come back; that’s what I thought in the moment,” she said.

Asked what he thought of his prosecutor, he said, “I’m past it. I just want to go get something to eat right now and love my family.”

If he didn’t eat soon, “I’m going to eat …read more    

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