Former LA Gang Member Exonerated After Serving 19 Years In Prison
It’s a great day for John Edward Smith, an ex-LA gang member, who walked out of prison this morning after serving 19 years for a 1993 drive-by shooting that resulted in a man’s death.
Via NBC Chicago:
Cheers erupted in a Los Angeles courtroom on Monday afternoon when a judge exonerated John Edward Smith of a drive-by shooting he did not commit. Late Monday, Smith left Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail after serving 19 years in prison.
“I’m just thankful the same system that made the error was able to find the same avenue to get me out,” Smith said to a throng of reporters who met him outside the jail Monday night. “I’m not bitter at all. That ain’t gonna get me nowhere, you know. I gotta move forward.” When asked what he was going to do next, Smith replied: “I’m gonna go home and hug my grandmother.”
Smith was convicted of killing a man during a 1993 drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. Another man survived and was the single witness to the alleged crime. Two years ago, he recanted the testimony that led to Smith’s 1994 conviction for first-degree murder and attempted murder. The 37-year-old was scheduled to be released on Friday, but the judge was out due to illness. Still, Smith was all smiles on Monday as the judge released him after nearly two decades behind bars: “Mr. Smith, you are now free.”
The ruling evoked mixed emotions from Smith’s family. “I’m happy. I’m sad. But the part of me that was in there with him, I’m free now, too,” said Laura Neal, Smith’s grandmother and primary caretaker. “I was hoping and praying that before I die he will be with me again,” she said.
Good for him. We hope he remains positive and gets his life on track.