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Texan, Imprisoned for Murders Half His Life, Freed On Bond

A Texas man, imprisoned for more than half his life for a double homicide that he, witnesses, and hundreds of supporters all maintain he did not commit, was freed Tuesday.

Daniel Villegas, 37, of El Paso, has been behind bars since 1995, when a jury convicted him of killing two teenagers and sentenced him to a life prison term. His conviction was largely based on a confession that Villegas, just 16 at the time of the 1993 drive-by shooting in northeast El Paso, has said was coerced by detectives.

On Tuesday morning, District Court Judge Sam Medrano set bond at $50,000 for Villegas.

The District Attorney's office has not yet announced whether it will seek a new trial for Villegas.

Villegas' confession that landed him in a life sentence had numerous discrepancies in it: For example, Villegas claimed he was riding in a white car, when the vehicle involved in the shooting was actually red, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Villegas quickly recanted, explaining he only confessed because he was told if he didn't, he would be raped in county jail and that he would get the death penalty.

Jesse Hernandez, a witness to the double killing, told FoxNews.com in 2012 he did not believe Villegas was the shooter.

"I believe with all my heart he is innocent," Hernandez said.

Villegas' first trial ended in a mistrial, but his second trial, just three days long, finished with a swift conviction. An appellate court ruled recently that he did not have adequate counsel during the trial.