Andrew Leander Wilson served 32 years behind bars but walked free Thursday after a Los Angeles judge declared that he did not get a fair trial, CNN reports.
“I say it all the time, don’t stop fighting. Don’t give up,” said Wilson, now 62. “It seems like that’s what the justice system wants you to do, and I never gave up.”
Wilson, embraced by his sister and daughter, thanked the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent for working on his case. They discovered that the prosecutor withheld information about its key witness.
Always maintaining his innocence, Wilson was convicted for the 1984 stabbing death of 21-year-old Christopher Hanson, who was sitting late night in a parked truck with his girlfriend Saladena Bishop.
The law school’s investigators discovered some troubling information about Bishop, who was a witness for the prosecution. She picked Wilson out in a line up after a police officer pointed to his photo. The police considered her an unreliable witness because she had once filed a false police report. Added to all that, Bishop’s friend told the prosecutor that Bishop had previously stabbed her boyfriend and was probably the killer.
None of that information, however, was shared with Wilson’s trial lawyer.
But Wilson is not bitter: “I’m past it. I just want to get something to eat right now and love my family.”
Wilson is a grandfather with a lot of catching up to do with his family after three decades in prison. Before walking away with his loved ones, Wilson paused to thank his mother, who never stopped believing that her son was innocent and that this day would come.
Wilson said he spoke by phone with his mom who lives in Missouri. “My mother was the backbone. She’s a 96-year-old pit bull,” he said.