LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — County prosecutors Friday formally dismissed the case against a man who spent 34 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.
Kash Delano Register, 53, took his first steps of freedom on Nov. 8.
A hearing was held Friday morning at the Airport courthouse to formally drop the case against him.
“I just kept my faith strong about me being innocent,” Register said outside court. “… I knew sooner or later that the truth would come out.”
Register was released after a judge overturned Register’s murder conviction in connection with the April 1979 fatal shooting of a 78-year-old man in West Los Angeles.
His freedom is due in part to Keith Chandler, a former inmate at Folsom State Prison and prison library clerk. Thirteen years ago, Register asked for Chandler’s advice.
“‘I need your help with the parole board,'” Chandler recalled Register saying. “‘I want to know how to explain to the board that I’m not crazy when I say I’m innocent,’ because he was being repeatedly denied parole.”
When Chandler was released from prison, he wrote a petition to get a judge to appoint Register an attorney.
Register ended up with a team of attorneys and students from Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent. They presented a new case, including testimony from Sheila Vanderkam, the estranged sister of one of the original key witnesses, who said she knew her sister lied during her testimony in Register’s trial.
“I knew my sister lied. It was just something that I thought, for sure, the police would have picked it up like that. I had no idea it would go on and it would escalate into something like this,” Vanderkam said via phone.
Brian Banks, another former inmate freed by the Innocence Project after he was falsely convicted of rape, attended the hearing to congratulate Register.
“He’s put through more than far beyond what I’ve been put through, but it doesn’t change the reason. And the reason is that he was wrongly accused and wrongfully convicted of a crime he didn’t commit,” Banks said