A man of Black race was liberated from a North Carolina prison on Thursday after serving 44 years for a violation he insists he did not commit.
Ronnie Long, stepped out of prison, carrying his few belongings with him. He waved his hands to the crowd and hugged a loved one before addressing media reporters. “A rough, tough, and long road, is what it has been like,” Long said. “But it’s all done now.” earing a mask with a printing; “Free Ronnie Long,” he appreciated his lawyers, family, and loved ones for enduring through the long legal fight.
Long, 64, was accused of molesting a White woman and burglary in 1976, an all-white jury found him guilty of rape and was sentenced to life in prison.
His sentence was withdrawn Thursday after the North Carolina state filed a motion in the national court aiming to do so.
That evidence, which included samples of semen and fingerprints from the crime scene that did not match Long, was purposely constrained by law enforcement, Thacker said in the filing.
Long maintained his innocence and had been pushing for his freedom for years. Wednesday’s ruling doesn’t proclaim Long innocent. The federal law court left that question up to a lower law court to make the decision. Lau said even though the charges are yet to be dropped, he’s confident they will be withdrawn.
“There is absolutely no proof of Ronnie’s guilt for this crime,” he said. Ronnie told journalists he yearned for macaroni and cheese, beef ribs, a salad, and some lemonade as his first dinner out of prison.
“Reunion with his family and friends gives him unspeakable joy,” Lau said.