There is no statute of limitation on justice. Raymond Towler of Ohio found this out recently as he was cleared of rape charges that had him imprisoned for nearly three decades.
"It finally happened, I've been waiting," Raymond Towler, 52, said as he hugged sobbing family members in the courtroom.
He walked from the courthouse, arms around his family members, amid the smell of freshly cut grass, blooming trees and a brisk wind off Lake Erie. Asked how he would adjust, Towler responded: "Just take a deep breath and just enjoy life right now."
Towler had been serving a life sentence for the rape of a girl in a Cleveland park in 1981. Prosecutors received the test results Monday and immediately asked the court to free him.
The Ohio Innocence Project, an organization that uses DNA evidence to clear people wrongfully convicted of crimes, said Towler was among the longest incarcerated people to be exonerated by DNA in U.S. history. The longest was a man freed in Florida in December after serving 35 years, according to the project.
Attorneys with the project at the University of Cincinnati have been working on the Towler case since 2004, and Towler said that and his faith had given him hope.
"That's how I've been living these last years, I've just been keeping hope," Towler said as relatives and friends crowded around him after the court session, some whooping, "Alleluia."