‘Thank God’: Innocent Man Free After Spending 33 Years In Prison

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A California man was released from prison after 33 years Thursday after being cleared of six charges of attempted murder, the Los Angeles County district attorney announced.

Daniel Saldana, 55, was convicted in 1990 of six counts of attempted murder after being accused of shooting at a car containing six teenagers leaving a high school football game near Los Angeles in October 1989, a press release from the district attorney stated. Saldana, who was 22 at the time and worked as a construction worker, was charged with the crime along with two others in 1990 and sentenced to 45 years to life in prison, the release stated.

During a parole hearing in August 2017, another of the accused revealed to the board that Saldana was not involved in the shooting as he had not even been present during the incident. An investigation into those claims, however, did not move forward until the end of February 2023 when a copy of the hearing transcript was forwarded to District Attorney George Gascón’s office, the release stated.

“As prosecutors, our duty is not simply to secure convictions but to seek justice. When someone is wrongfully convicted, it is a failure of our justice system and it is our responsibility to right that wrong. We owe it to the individual who was wrongfully convicted and to the public that justice is served,” Gascón stated in the release.

Saldana, grateful to be free after decades in prison, told CBS News that he never lost hope that his name would be cleared.  “I just knew that one day this was going to come. I’m so grateful. I just thank God.” (RELATED: ‘I Cannot Wait To Hug My Mother’: Wrongfully Convicted Man Free After Serving 34 Years Of 400-Year Sentence)

“I know that this won’t bring you back the decades you endured in prison,” Gascon stated in an apology to Saldana and his family, according to the outlet. “But I hope our apology brings some small comfort to you as you begin your new life.”