Alabama death row inmate Anthony Ray Hinton has been freed after nearly 30 years.
Anthony Ray Hinton, 58, was convicted of murdering two restaurant managers in Birmingham in 1985, but was granted a new trial last year.
Tests on bullets found at the crime scene could not be connected to a gun found at Anthony Ray Hinton’s home, prompting prosecutors to drop the case.
Anthony Ray Hinton’s lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, said his client was convicted because he could not afford better legal counsel.
“All they had to do was test the gun,” Anthony Ray Hinton said, explaining why he shouldn’t have had to sit on death row for nearly three decades.
Bullets from the crime scene were the only evidence that linked Anthony Ray Hinton to the murders.
Prosecutors said that modern forensic methods failed to link the bullets to a revolver found in Anthony Ray Hinton’s home.
“Every day, every month, every year that the state took from him, they took something that they don’t have the power to give back,” said Bryan Stevenson.
At his first trial, Anthony Ray Hinton’s lawyer believed his client only had $1,000 to hire an expert that could defend against the prosecution’s allegations about the bullets.
The lawyer hired the only expert willing to take the job at that rate, and jurors reportedly laughed as the expert struggled to answer questions during cross-examination.
The US Supreme Court ruled last year that Anthony Ray Hinton did not have adequate legal counsel at the first trial and said the case should be reconsidered at a second trial.
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