“I’m not angry because I have God.” – James Bain
Bartow, Florida (CNN) — After more than three decades in prison, a man in Florida was set free Thursday after a DNA test showed he did not kidnap and rape a 9-year-old boy in 1974.
James Bain, 54, was 19 when he was convicted on charges of kidnapping, burglary and strong-arm rape. Now he will be allowed to go home for the first time in 35 years.
“Mr. Bain, you are a free man,” the judge said in a Bartow, Florida, courtroom. Bain was serving a life sentence.
Bain’s mother, who has been in and out of hospitals in recent years, said that her son’s exoneration is “hard to believe.”
“He was just a child when he went in there,” Sarah Reed told CNN. “I’ve been trying to hold on. I’ve had things wrong with me, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be here when he got out.”
Of the 245 people in the United States who have been exonerated by DNA testing, none has spent more time behind bars than Bain, according to the Innocence Project, a national organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing.
“I thanked the Lord. He must have did it for a reason,” Reed said. “The Lord has a reason for putting him in here, and he has a reason for keeping me around for me to see this.”
Melissa Montle, an attorney with the Innocence Project, called Bain last week at his prison in Okeechobee, Florida, to tell him the news.
“I told him and he got very quiet,” she told CNN. Then he said, “I’m really happy,” and began to choke up, she said.
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