Man Freed After Being Wrongly Convicted For Murder 23 Years Ago

After maintaining his innocence for 23 years, Evin King was released this month.

A man who spent more than two decades in prison after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend is now able to walk the streets as a free man.

Evin King, 59, was convicted in 1994 of killing his girlfriend, Crystal Hudson. His girlfriend was found strangled in her closet. Investigators found two types of DNA there. One of them did not match King, and the old DNA technology at the time could not test the other DNA evidence found.

"I lose my cool with them, because they want me to say I did something that I didn't do,” King said.

Previously, prosecutors argued Hudson was with another man before her death, and then King killed her.

“I’m going to fight this. I ain't taking no deals,” he said, “I didn't do it. I don't know nothing about it. I'm going to stay strong, and I’m going to fight this."

In 2009, the Ohio Innocence Project took his case and did new testing.

Twenty-three years later, DNA testing confirmed that the semen found in the victim’s vaginal cavity after the attack matched male skin cells found under her fingernails. A hand-to-hand struggle appeared to have taken place during the attack, as the victim was strangled. This male DNA in both locations did not match King, but rather an unknown male.

King always maintained his innocence, from his arrest and trial and then throughout his 23 years of incarceration.

He kept a photograph of him and daughter, Venus King, with the words "Free at Last" written on it, tucked into a copy of the New Testament, and refused to participate in prison programs to rehabilitate violent felons because, as he said, "I'm not a killer."

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley asked the court to void King's conviction.

"In several past cases in Cuyahoga County, and today with Evin King's case, the prosecutors in Cleveland put justice above winning," the Ohio Innocence Project's co-founder said.

With his conviction vacated, King said he hopes to make up for lost times and spend time with his family. King said he was staying strong. He doesn’t want the difficult ordeal to break his spirit.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Lucy Nicholson

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