PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia man is once again a free man after he spent more than 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. The move comes after a key trial witness admitted she falsely implicated Chester Hollman.
Eyewitness News spoke to Hollman just hours after he was released.
So much has changed on the outside. He says that has him a little afraid but most of all, he’s happy to finally be out.
“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet still. Just this morning, I learned that this was happening. I’m still a little in shock, disbelief,” Hollman said.
Hollman is adjusting to life as a free man after being found guilty of a murder he did not commit back on May 4, 1993.
“Knowing that you’re in prison for something that you didn’t do and trying to convince people that you’re not lying, your innocence is true, it’s real, it’s an uphill battle,” he said.
But it was an uphill battle the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office was ready to take on.
“It was pretty clear to us that unfortunately the police department and the district attorney’s office actually had evidence in their possession back at the time of trial. Had they disclosed that to the defense like they’re constitutionally and ethically required to do, Mr. Hollman might not have ever stood trial, quite frankly,” Patricia Cummings, supervisor of the District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit, said.
Now that Hollman has been exonerated, that means the real killer could still be on the streets.
“That’s the kind of shame that happens and you have people in law enforcement, including in this office, who ignore their oath, who ignore the Constitution and who engage in misconduct, which is what happened,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said.
It’s a flawed justice system the DA hopes to get right. It also means Hollman can finally have justice after 28 years.
“I think we got it right this time, yes, confident we did,” Cummings said.
“So many people who fought hard for me, the biggest thing is that I don’t want to let anyone down,” Hollman said.
Hollman will be back in court on July 30 where his charges will be formally withdrawn. He says he doesn’t care what his first meal is, as long as it isn’t made from a potato or contain soy.