After spending 28 years in prison for a murder that he did not commit, Corey Atchison has his freedom.
What are the details?
An Oklahoma judge ruled that Atchison — who was convicted in connection with a 1991 murder — is innocent.
Police believe that the deceased, James Wayne, was the victim of a gang-related robbery that took place nearly 30 years ago.
Tulsa County District Judge Sharon Holmes overturned the conviction on Tuesday after his attorneys argued that their client’s conviction was primarily based on the recollection of one witness. The witness reportedly admitted that he was coerced into testimony against Atchison, who was just 20 years old at the time of the crime. Holmes vacated Atchison’s murder conviction, calling it a “fundamental miscarriage of justice.”
From the time of his conviction, Atchison has maintained his innocence. He is, under Oklahoma state law, eligible to receive $175,000 in compensation.
In 2016, the same judge freed Atchison’s brother, Malcolm Scott, who was wrongfully jailed in a 1995 murder case.
What is being said?
After the ruling, Atchison revealed that he’s not sure what’s next.
“I don’t really know what I want to do, because my goal all these years was just to be free,” he said.
Atchison’s mother, Ruth Scott, insisted that she knew he was innocent the entire time.
“I knew he didn’t do it,” she said. “I knew he didn’t do it when it happened.”
Joe Norwood, Atchison’s attorney, said that his client didn’t waver in maintaining his innocence.
“Every time Corey Atchison had a chance to profess his innocence, he did,” Norwood explained. “And he did it under oath. And he did it consistently.”
As for Atchison, there’s apparently no hard feelings about the wrongful conviction.
“You fall and you gotta get back up before long because if you dwell on it, it’s gonna turn you down,” he said. “You just move on and keep going. It’s the only way you’re gonna make it. I can’t hold no grudge. Life’s too short.”
You can read more on the case’s background here.