Glenn Ford, 64, walked out of a maximum security prison in Angola, La. Tuesday, after a Louisiana District Court judge vacated his murder conviction and death sentence. The judge ordered his immediate release.
"My mind's going all different kinds of directions, but it feels good," Ford told WAFB News after walking out of the prison.
Ford was convicted of the 1983 murder of Shreveport jeweler Isadore Rozeman, who was shot dead in his store on Nov. 5, 1983. At the time of the murder, police found no weapon and there were no witnesses to the crime.
Ford was found guilty by an all-white jury and sentenced to die.
Ford's attorneys argued Ford was wrongfully convicted over the years. They said he had an inexperienced court-appointed lawyer and information was wrongfully suppressed.
In 2013, prosecutors told the defense that "a confidential informant for the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office stated that Jake Robinson told him that he, not Mr. Ford, shot and killed Isadore Rozeman," according to the Shreveport Times.
At his release, Ford said he regrets the years he's lost to a wrongful conviction.
"I've been locked up almost 30 years for something I didn't do," Ford said. "I can't go back and do anything I should have been doing when I was 35, 38, 40, stuff like that."
Ford was released after new information gathered by the state corroborated his 30-year claim that he was not present or involved in the killing of Rozeman.
However, prosecutors would not release details about new evidence they possess, saying it could jeopardize their efforts in finding the real killer.
The Rozeman family was pleased with the news of Ford's release.
"This is a positive reflection on the criminal justice system," said Phillip Rozeman, nephew of the murder victim. "We don't have animosity for anyone. If someone else was involved or others were involved in his death there also will be justice for those people."
As per Louisiana law, Ford is entitled to receive compensation of $25,000 per year up to a maximum of $250,000, and another $80,000 for loss of "life opportunities."
Image via YouTube