Angel Echavarria spent 21 years behind bars, but on Monday, a Massachusetts judge officially vacated his life sentence and he walked away amid cheers from family and friends.
"I feel good," said Echavarria as he walked away from the courtroom. "They made justice, finally."
Echavarria, a Dominican immigrant, was convicted in the 1994 execution-style shooting death of Daniel Rodriguez in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Echavarria was involved in the drug trade, but he maintained he had never seen the victim and there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
Echavarria obtained legal help from the Justice Brandeis Law Project at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.
In April, Superior Court Judge David Lowy wrote that "justice may not have been done in this case,” as he allowed a review of the evidence.
The Essex County District Attorney's Office will decide whether to drop charges or prepare new charges against Echavarria.
- Angel Echavarria may be released after 20 years in jail
- After 21 years, a relentless quest for justice may pay off