(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) — As Ray Hinton walked out of an Alabama jail after spending 30 years on death row, he promised to continue praying for the families of two victims he was wrongfully convicted of murdering whom he said suffered a “miscarriage of justice” he also experienced.
Hinton, 58, was released from jail on Friday, 30 years after he was convicted of two murders in Birmingham largely based on evidence from bullets found at the crime scene. But new testing showed that the bullets couldn’t be connected to Hinton.
“They had every intention of executing me for something I didn’t do,” Hinton said.
The Equal Justice Initiative, the group that helped win Hinton’s release, conducted testing on the weapon “the state said was sole evidence of finding him guilty of these murders,” his attorney, Bryan Stevenson, told ABC News, adding that “testing revealed that the Hinton weapon was not used in these crimes.”
“When you think you are high and mighty and you are above the law, you don’t have to answer to nobody,” Hinton said. “But I got news for them, everybody who played a part in sending me to death row, you will answer to God.”
Hinton wore a suit for the first time in 30 years during his release Friday, said Stevenson.
After he signed the release papers, “they gave him his meager possessions,” Stevenson recalled to ABC News: a pair of sneakers, a belt and a couple of books.
Then, they walked out of the jail and met his family and friends.
“He’s going to take his time and just try to recover from the challenges of confinement,” Stevenson said. “We’ll meet next week and begin trying to sort out how to put his life back together again.”
Hinton’s release was “enormously gratifying,” Stevenson said, but “it’s also frustrating that so many years were taken away from him unnecessarily.”
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