Despite being convicted of the 1984 shooting of a South Pasadena, Calif. man, Frank O’Connell always maintained his innocence throughout the 27 years he’s been in prison.
Now, O’Connell is getting a second chance to prove it. Last month, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that he was entitled to a new trial because the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department failed to disclose evidence pointing to another potential suspect, reports the Los Angeles Times. The detectives may also have improperly influenced witnesses.
O’Connell’s family was able to post $75,000 bail Friday, and he was released Saturday morning.
“I feel great,” O’Connell said in a phone call to The Huffington Post. “Getting acclimated back into society is going to take a little while, but the excitement, the love and the joy I’ve been receiving from everyone, as well as the well-wishing and prayers, helps.”
I’m continually impressed by the attitude of these exonerees upon their release.* I’m sure there are examples out there, but I can’t recall a single time when one of these guys expressed anger or bitterness after getting out. Even in cases of gross misconduct by government officials.
I’d like to think I’d be as gracious. But I kinda’ doubt it.
(*Technically, O’Connell isn’t yet an exoneree, and could still be tried again.)