US death row inmate free after 30 years

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iol pic wld Death Row-Inmate Release~1 AP In this frame grab from video Glenn Ford, 64, talks to the media as he leaves a maximum security prison after having spent nearly 30 years on death row. Picture: WAFB-TV 9

Washington -

A man who spent 30 years on death row in Louisiana has walked free after a court threw out his murder conviction.

Glenn Ford, 64, one of the longest-serving death row prisoners in the United States, was ordered to be released after new information cleared him of a 1983 murder.

“My mind's going all kinds of directions, but it feels good,” Ford told reporters outside the Louisiana State Penitentiary after his release Tuesday, according to CNN affiliate WAFB.

Ford, an African-American who had been on death row since 1984 after his conviction by an all-white jury, said he has missed out on much of his life.

“My sons Ä when I left Ä was babies. Now they grown men with babies,” he said.

“Thirty years of my life, if not all of it,” he said. “I can't go back.”

A judge ordered that Ford be freed after prosecutors petitioned the court to release him, said the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana.

New information corroborated what Ford has maintained all along: that he was not present at nor involved in the November 1983 slaying of jeweller Isadore Rozeman, the project said.

Rozeman, 56, was found shot to death behind the counter of his shop on November 5, 1983. Reports say no murder weapon was ever found and there were no eyewitnesses to the crime.

“Glenn Ford is living proof of just how flawed our justice system truly is,” Amnesty International USA senior campaigner Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris said in a statement, according to CNN.

“We are moved that Mr Ford, an African-American man convicted by an all-white jury, will be able to leave death row a survivor.”

CBS said that under Louisiana law, those who have served time but are later exonerated are entitled to receive compensation.

The law calls for payments of $25 000 for every year of wrongful incarceration up to a maximum of $250 000, plus another $80 000 for loss of “life opportunities.” - Sapa-AFP

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