LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A 62-year-old man who spent more than three decades behind bars after being convicted of murder in what prosecutors say was not a “fundamentally fair trial” was released Thursday afternoon.
Andrew Leander Wilson was released from the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles and was greeted by family members, students, and attorneys with the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent.
A Los Angeles judge ordered his release Wednesday following a hearing in Superior Court where prosecutors acknowledged there were errors in the case against Wilson.
Wilson was reunited with his loved ones on Thursday, and said he felt no bitterness on the day of his release.
Instead, he expressed gratitude for the students and attorneys who helped free him. He called them his “sisters and brothers.”
“Those are my sisters right there,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of sisters and brothers.”
Catrina Burks, Wilson’s daughter, was 10 years old when her father was first accused and said she was eagerly awaiting that moment when he steps out into freedom.
“It’s so surreal. I’m ready for him to come out of those doors, and just…this be all over with,” said Burks. “He didn’t do it, and I know he didn’t do it, and he’s missed out on a lot because of this whole thing, he’s missed out on a lot.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has said it will not re-try Wilson.
Wilson says he plans to return to St. Louis to spend time with his mother, Margie Davis, who will turn 97 on May 1.