The New York Times wrote that the 23-year-old appeared in the photo during a police investigation into an apartment murder in 1990 following information about Thomas James. This same name is said to have planned the burglary. A photograph of the innocent American was “identified” by an eyewitness, and James was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.
Dorothy Walton, the main witness and daughter of the dead man who was in the apartment at the time of the murder, said of the testimony at the time: “I’m sure, I will never forget his face and his eyes.” However, no other evidence was found that James committed the murder. James himself has always denied his guilt and claimed that he never visited the apartment in question.
For decades, James’ relatives tried to get him out, but all attempts were unsuccessful. Even Walton admitted in 2019 that she questioned her previous testimony. The 79-year-old Walton did not want to “move the error to the grave” and therefore cooperated in an operation to free James.
On Wednesday, the judge ruled that James was imprisoned “by accident” and that he was “innocent of the facts.” Having spent more than half his life in prison, the American was released. He told reporters he wanted to “enjoy his life” in front of his mother and family.
The real culprit has not been found. James of the same name, who allegedly prepared the murder at the time it was committed, was imprisoned. Another possible suspect has since died.