UC law students help free wrongly convicted man who was jailed for over 2 decades
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Students and faculty with the Ohio Innocence Project just freed a wrongly convicted man from Cleveland, marking the program's 25th exoneration.
Evin King was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Crystal Hudson, in 1995.
There were no eyewitness accounts or forensic evidence to link him to the horrific crime.
He was found guilty based on his relationship with the victim and inconsistent statements about his whereabouts the day of the crime.
King has maintained his innocence since the beginning.
His post-conviction case bounced around for a while and the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) at the University of Cincinnati College of Law picked it up.
The case finally gained traction after Cuyahoga County's prosecutor, Michael O'Malley, was elected.
"They had completed a review of the case and they had decided that they were going to vacate his conviction and let him go home, and I about fell out of my chair because I was so surprised," says Jennifer Bergeron, Assistant Professor of Clinical Law at the OIP.
"I got in here and the energy was crazy. We were all just so excited for him, and then we got to make that phone call to him and tell him the news and it was just incredible. I can't even explain the feeling. It was amazing," says Jonathan Walker, a fellow with the OIP from Georgetown, Ohio.
The law students work tirelessly; making phone calls, doing research, conducting interviews and filing motions.
The OIP accepts less than five percent of the cases that come their way. The organization has received 8,000 requests for assistance since 2003. King's case seemed like a slam-dunk opportunity to them; still, it took years to exonerate him.
"The courtroom was a crazy experience. It was full of joy and love. It's a moment that I'll cherish forever," says Morgan Keilholz, a fellow with the OIP from West Harrison, Indiana.
Other exhonerees freed by the OIP were on hand Wednesday as King was released. Attorneys say it can be difficult for them to reacclimate to life after spending so much time in prison.