Man's Murder Conviction Tossed After 32 Years in Prison
- Author: Carolyn Briggs Mar 18, 2017,
Mar 18, 2017, 8:45
-Wearing a broad smile and a Maroon Loyola Law School T-shirt, Andrew Leander Wilson emerged a free man for the first time in 32 years on Thursday, after serving time for a murder he says he never committed.
Paula Mitchell, legal director of Loyola Law School's Los Angeles Project for the Innocent, which worked on Wilson's case, said her client had maintained his innocence since he was arrested in December 1984 in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 21-year-old man in Los Angeles.
Wilson, now 62, was convicted of the 1984 robbery and stabbing death of Christopher Hanson, a 21-year-old man who had a disorder which prevented his blood from clotting.
Wilson said he plans to travel to St. Louis to visit his mother, Margie Davis, 96. "He didn't do it, and I know he didn't do it, and he's missed out on a lot because of this whole thing, he's missed out on a lot". Evidently, it wasn't impossible.
"It's been a nightmare but I survived and got to the end of the road", Wilson said.
He was clutching his daughter and sister's hand the entire time as he walked out of the LA County jail to a flurry of camera's and reporters. "I stayed hopeful all the way", said his sister, Gwen Wilson.
Wilson said he holds no bitterness because that would be "a waste of time".
"I'm past it. I just want to go get something to eat right now and love my family", he said. "Three years ago, they gave me reason to think that it was going to happen".
"Numerous due process violations that recently came to light show conclusively that Mr. Wilson did not receive a fair trial", Mitchell said.
"Mrs. Davis' commitment to seeing her son released from prison and exonerated is truly remarkable". The trial prosecutor, Laura Aalto was also told by a friend of Hanson's that Bishop had stabbed him before and could be the actual culprit. Before Wilson's trial, police had deemed Bishop an unreliable witness because she had once filed a false police report accusing someone of kidnapping and attempted rape.
In a court filing, Deputy District Attorney Erika Jerez wrote, "Based on the LADA's post-conviction investigation, the LADA concedes that cumulative errors during pre-trial and trial proceedings deprived Mr. Wilson of his constitutional right to a fundamentally fair trial ..." To determine that, a hearing is scheduled for May, as Wilson would need to be declared "factually innocent" in order to get compensation from the state for his imprisonment.