After 17 years of proclaiming his innocence to anyone who would listen, Nathan Brown, 40, walked out of a Louisiana prison Wednesday, set free from the wrongful attempted rape conviction that he always had faith would be overturned, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. A judge vacated Brown’s 1997 conviction and his 25-year sentence after attorneys from the Innocence Project presented DNA evidence that exonerated him.
“It wasn’t no easy task being in prison for 17 years for something you had no knowledge of,” Brown said. Relatives cheered Brown as he arrived at the Innocence Project’s New Orleans office following his release. Brown was convicted of assaulting a woman in the courtyard of a Metairie apartment complex on Aug. 7, 1997, based on an identification made by the victim. Brown asked for help from the Innocence Project last year, and the exoneration came quickly because prosecutors cooperated in the DNA testing.