Why Prisoner Proven Innocent Can't Be Released A man was convicted of murder based on the testimony of several witnesses and sentenced to 35 years in prison. However, after the conviction the testimony of the witnesses began to unravel. Not long after the conviction, one of the witnesses admitted that she had not told the truth in court about whether she had received a reward for coming forward and giving evidence. A new trial was set, but the man was now offered a plea deal by the state. He could probably get out of prison in 5 years if he accepted the plea deal. His lawyer told him he should take it. But he didn't accept the plea deal. He was convicted again. Years later, the prisoner got some help from an outside organization, trying to find evidence that might show the prisoner was innocent. They discovered that the main witness of the trial would not have been able to clearly see what happened at night, all she would have been able to see at that distance from inside her window were shadowy silhouettes. There was no way the witness could have actually been sure the suspect was one of the faces she saw. 20 years after the crime, a new judge granted an evidentiary hearing. The three witnesses came forward again, and this time two of them backed down. A forensic visual scientist testified that there was no way any of the three witnesses could have clearly been able to make out a face from where they were at the time. However, there would be no retrial. While a new judge said that if the new evidence had been presented at the first trial it would be unlikely the man would have been convicted, nevertheless since there was no new evidence presented which incontrovertibly showed innocence, the man was not entitled to a new trial. It was now 28 years after the crime. One of the witnesses had died, and another witness now admits that she didn't get a clear look at the suspect, and says she felt pressure from the police to say it was the man. They found another witness who was never called to the trial who says she is sure it is not the same man. Lastly, the alleged jailhouse informant who had testified against the man had originally been looking at a 25 year sentence but only ended up serving one year in prison after providing his testimony at trial, raising suspicions about whether the prosecutor had taken it easy on him during the prosecution in exchange for a false testimony to make sure the other man got convicted. This is also demonstrates how unreliable witnesses can be in some situations. You'd think if multiple witnesses say they saw a man at the crime scene, it would prove without any doubt the man had actually been there, but as you can gather from this story, that is not necessarily the case.