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01/04/2002 12:39 PM ID: 15300 Permalink   

Florida Death Row Inmate Released After 18 Years


Juan Melendez spent 18 years of his life in prison and faced execution in Florida for a murder that he didn't commit. In 1999, a written confession to the murder was found, and Melendez's lawyers started to fight for his freedom.

Over the last 18 years, Melendez has appealed several times but the Florida Supreme Court consistently upheld his death sentence. James Vermon, the real killer confessed to four investigators, but the evidence was not allowed.

Melendez will go home to Puerto Rico, live with his 73-year-old mother and try to rebuild his life. It is not yet known if he will sue, but he says "they could give me a billion dollars and they can not pay for what they did to me."

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