RANCH CUCAMONGA (CBSLA.com) — A man convicted of killing his wife 23 years ago was released from prison Tuesday after the California Supreme Court overturned his conviction.
William Richards walked out of the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga with his arms raised, expressing a sense of triumph and joy.
When asked how he felt, William Richards said: “No words could ever express it. I mean the emotions, the feelings. It’s been a lot, yeah.”
He was 43 years old when he was first taken into custody. Bill Clinton had just been elected president, and Jurassic Park was No. 1 at the box office. Richards is now 66.
In 1997, Richards was convicted for the 1993 murder of his wife based on circumstantial evidence and received 25 years to life in prison.
He said 1993 was a long time ago. “Yes it was. I was a different man. It was a different world,” Richards sighed and said he is not angry. “I’m more crushed that the system works this way. I understand there’s a lot of guilty people in prison. But there’s a lot of innocent ones too.”
In the 1997 trial, forensic dentist Norman Sperber testified that the mark on Pamela Richards’ hand was made by her husband’s teeth. Eleven years later, Sperber recanted his testimony and admitted that there was no science to support the conclusions he made.
Last month after the California Innocence Project provided new evidence, the California State Supreme Court overturned Richards’ conviction.
Richards said the first thing he wanted to do was to get “some real food” to eat.
It may not over for Richards, the San Bernardino County District Attorney has 60 days to decide whether to retry Richards for the 5th time.
For now, the 66-year-old said he is enjoying his newfound freedom.
The California Innocence Project said if Richards’ case goes before another jury, it is confident he will be acquitted.