An innocent man who spent 44 years behind ba-rs for a r*pe and bu*glary he didn’t commit has told Good Morning Britain he will ‘cherish’ the remainder of his life.
Ronnie Long was conv!cted of the cr!mes by an all-white jury back in 1976 and was sentenced to 80 years in pr!son despite there being hair fibers and fingerprints that didn’t match his.
The 64-year-old was eventually released on 27 August after his legal team reviewed the evidence.
Speaking about his case, US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephanie Thacker, said that vital evidence, including semen samples and fingerprints from the cr!me scene, were purposely withheld by police.
Speaking to GMB, Mr. Long said: “I’m still trying to get used to it. I haven’t been out too much yet. This is something I’m going to cherish for the remainder of my life.”How much more time do I have on the face of the earth, I’m going to try and do the best that I can to enjoy what I have.
“When he was asked what he was enjoying most about being released, he humbly answered: “Being with my wife and being with my family, being able to eat what I want.”Just to be able to get up in the morning and see the sunrise, knowing that people aren’t watching you and you’re not still behind a fe-nce.
“Just the pleasure of being free to walk up the street, go downtown, buy a shirt. Just that little freedom, you understand, is enough. It’s overwhelming compared to where I come from.” Mr. Long’s attorney Jamie Lau is a law professor at Duke University and a fac-ulty adviser for the Duke Law Innocence Project. He told CNN that police dec-eption was piv-otal in Long’s conv!ction: “Because of the dece!t that occurred at trial, Ronnie and his counsel at the time didn’t have the benefit of that evidence to present to the jury.
“So he’s been wrongly in*arcerated for 44 years. The cards were heavily sta-cked aga!nst him and a large part of that was the rac!al dyna-mics in North Carolina in the South and in particular Concord, North Carolina, in 1976.”The view of federal judges was that Long was impr!soned in no small part because of the color of his skin.Judge James Wynn of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote: “Mr. Long, a bla-ck man, was tried in ‘small town’ 1970s North Carolina by an all-white jury for the r*pe of the white w!dow of a prom!nent local business executive.”
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