A 65-year-old man who spent more than half of his life behind bars has been freed.
TIME reports that at age 19, Wilbur Jones was arrested and sentenced to life without parole.
“God is so good,” Jones said after his rape conviction was overturned by a Baton Rouge, Louisiana judge earlier this month.
It was concluded that authorities withheld evidence that could have led to Jones’ exoneration. State District Judge Richard Anderson called the decades-old case against the former prisoner “weak at best.”
“Freedom. After more than 45 years and ten months. That’s going through my mind,” Jones said as he embraced relatives outside of East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, his home for 46 years.
Although Jones says doing all of that time behind bars was “very difficult,” but he holds no ill will toward himself or anyone.
“I forgave. I forgive,” he said. “I didn’t have control of it. Why should I worry about it? I’m in charge of myself.”
Jones is free courtesy of his legal team at the Innocence Project New Orleans. The program is a nonprofit law office that works to exonerate clients at no cost.
“Without them, this wouldn’t be possible,’ he said.