Johnny Williams spent 14 years in prison for an attempted rape he never committed. On Friday, a judge overturned his conviction. And on Tuesday, the 37-year-old Williams spoke publicly for the first time.
"I'm truly happy," Williams said in a one-on-one interview at Santa Clara University. That's where a team of students and lawyers comprising the Northern California Innocence Project helped prove that the DNA on a 9-year-old's T-shirt did not belong to him. The DNA is what lead to his 1998 attempted rape arrest.
"Everything happens for a reason," he said.
This is the second innocent person the Innocence Project has exonerated this year, and its 16th victory since its creation in 2001. The class at Santa Clara University also helped free Ronald Ross, 51, who was convicted in 2006 for an attempted murder, and was released at the end of February, when the judge dismissed the case.