A judge released an Oklahoma prisoner on Tuesday who have labored nearly three decades in prison for a 1991 killing, saying he did not commit the crime.
Corey Atchison, 48, was freed on Tuesday by Tulsa County District Judge Sharon Holmes, who stated she believes a key prosecution witness was pressured and that Atchison was guiltless of the crime.
“I don’t really know what I want to do, because my goal all these years was just to be free,” Atchison said following the ruling.
“Great day,” said Ruth Scott, Atchison’s mother, as she left the courthouse. “I knew he didn’t do it. I knew he didn’t do it, I knew he didn’t do it when it happened,” Scott said to reporters outside the building.
Prosecutors promptly filed a notice of appeal of the ruling and former District Attorney Tim Harris, who filed the case as an assistant district attorney, has arranged an affidavit denying he ever coerced a witness.
Atchison was sentenced to life in prison in 1991 for the deadly shooting of James Lane in Tulsa in 1990 during what police said was a gang-related attempted robbery.
The investigation of “actual innocence” by Holmes makes Atchison eligible for up to $175,000 in pay for a wrongful conviction under Oklahoma state law.