Cory Maye, 30, celebrated his release with friends, family and the lawyers who defended him during his case.
Maye, who was arrested in 2001 for the shooting, plead not guilty during the case. At the time, he claimed he did not know the men breaking into his home were police and that he was just trying protect his 18-month-old daughter when he shot Prentiss, Mississippi, police officer Ron Jones. Jurors felt otherwise and convicted Maye of capital murder in 2004.
Despite initially receiving the death penalty, Maye’s time was cut short early last month when a judge threw out the capital murder charges and allowed Maye to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
There are a lot of themes in Maye’s story. It is a story about the drug war, about the death penalty, about race and class in the South. It’s a story about the inadequacies of the criminal justice system, and it’s a story about the conflict between a man’s right to defend his home and a creeping tendency of police departments in America to serve routine search warrants by breaking down doors.