After his conviction was overturned, a man from New York who had spent 37 years in prison for the 1980s shooting deaths of two individuals has finally been released.
Michael Rhynes, after a court appearance in Rochester, was released from the Attica Correctional Facility on Tuesday afternoon, as reported by the Democrat and Chronicle.
Michelle Miller, Rhynes’ daughter, revealed in an interview with the newspaper that she had never witnessed her father outside the walls of the prison.
“This is going to be my very first birthday, my initial Christmas, and my inaugural New Year’s celebration with my father out of prison,” she exclaimed. “I believe today marks the first time I’ve truly experienced joy. I mean, ever. It feels surreal, like a dream come true.”
Last week, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Stephen Miller overturned Rhynes’ 1986 murder conviction. This decision came after two crucial witnesses, who had been incarcerated with Rhynes at the time, recanted their testimony.
The evidence against Rhynes was weak: there was no DNA, fingerprints, or witnesses that linked him to the scene, as reported by the newspaper. The prosecutors were initially considering dropping the charges, but the trial judge encouraged them to continue with the case.
“We can never regain those lost years, those precious hours, those fleeting minutes,” expressed Miller, Rhynes’ daughter, in an interview with the newspaper. “The path we’ve traversed has been far from easy. However, today, I find myself filled with gratitude.”
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