An innocent Black man who spent 32 years behind bars for murder is free. Should be grounds for celebration, right? Well, sort of. Andrew Leander Wilson, who is now 62 years old, was convicted back in 1986 and prosecutors now say that he never received a "fundamentally fair trial" as reported by Fox News.
Wilson has always maintained his innocence, but his first real glimmer of hope came from Loyola Law School's Project for the Innocent three years ago. "I never gave up and by the grace of God I was put in contact with Loyola Law School, and from day one they believed in me," Wilson said.
Because of their diligence, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laura F. Priver vacated Wilson's conviction. The good news is that the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office does not plan to retry the case. But, there is still a catch.
At a hearing on May 3, Wilson could be awarded up to $1.6 million in state funds due to his unlawful incarceration. He will have to prove, however, that he is factually innocent—something that the D.A. doesn't believe. So, even if no evidence points to Wilson's probable guilt, he will have lost 32 years of freedom and will be given nothing to help rebuild his life unless a judge rules in his favor.
And yet, Wilson is just focused on spending time with his 96-year old mother in St. Louis and reclaiming some of the time with friends and loved ones he has lost. "I'm happy that I'm at the end of it now. My family's alright. I'm alright," he says.
Sounds like a bittersweet victory though, don't it?