Elombah
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Letter: Read story of man acquitted after 36 years for rape, knife stab he never did

Dear Archie Williams,

For 36 years, you were in prison for a 1982 crime you didn’t commit.

You were just walking down the street one day when the police snatched you up, and included your photograph in a photo array that was viewed by one woman who had been raped and stabbed in her home.

At first, the woman didn’t identify you. But after the police’ technical pressure by which she was shown your photo two more times. She eventually gave in, she told the police that it was you, and you were convicted for rape and attempted murder, entering prison at 22.

Only to be exonorated at 58.

Terrible.

But that’s the life you have had to manage.

You committed to boxing and singing while in the prison. But what really kept you going was your mind.

You said freedom is of the mind.

That kind of positive mindset kept you intact. Made you believe in life. And also prevented you from self-destruct.

Around 12 years into your sentence, you reached out to the Innocence Project in New York, where Potkin works. Potkin says they realized forensic evidence could help prove your innocence, but the state fought tooth and nail.

The state refused to give them access to the case evidence, including the fingerprints that had been collected at the crime scene.

And when I hear such stories from places like America, I am further broken.

But God is good.

When God steps in, things change.

While they were adamant and blocked the way successfully for two decades. God stepped in, took the Judge in charge out and brought in a new woman to sit on the bench.

“She ordered that the fingerprints be searched in the FBI database; she said, you know, we’re gonna get to the truth here. And within eight hours, those prints were matched to a serial assailant, and Archie’s innocence was proven.”

See God?!

Today, you are free.

But 36 years was stolen from you.

We need more good people doing amazing things. Thank God for angels like Potkin.

And the awesome Innocence Project.

We can’t have enough of these organisations and awesome people who have decided to fight for the helpless.

Or who would have helped you?

You had no funds to defend yourself.

It was Archie Williams Vs. The State.

I trust God.

They stole 36 years from you. God is the giver of life, age and times. He’ll do a miracle.

A lot of things have changed since you got locked up.

You said, “today’s technology is really my hardest part of what’s going on in today’s society. I’m learning … trying to get back into society like I once was.”

You aren’t letting any of this hold back your musical dream, though. I trust you to do great. I saw your American Got Talent video.

God doesn’t stop half way.

Your Freedom spotter,

Ediale
#ForTheCulture

PS: I saw your interview with Steve Harvey. I was moved when you pointed to the crowd and recognized one of your relative. You said she was with you from day one. She never left you. She was always there. May God grant us that kind of wealth. People who will always stay with us regardless of our circumstances.

“She was with me from the day of the trial…she never left me…”

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