James Bain spent 35 years in prison for a 1974 kidnap and rape he did not commit before post-conviction DNA testing exonerated him. He began seeking DNA testing in 2001 but was denied multiple times until the
Innocence Project of Florida
came to his aid. Now living with his mother in Tampa, Bain has plans to return to college and hopes to get a motorcycle license and tour the country on his bike.
Bain told CNN that he doesn’t feel bitter for what happened to him, and that he’s returned to a better country than the one he knew before his wrongful conviction.
“In a sense, I feel like a bear, coming out of hibernation. Like, they come out to eat, mine would be coming out to enjoy what I have missed.”
“You spend 35 years in prison, and just the little things, like a grapefruit tree or an orange tree … those had vanished for me,” he said. “I never thought I’d get a chance to see another one of these.”
Bain has spent more years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit than any other person exonerated through DNA testing in the United States. His attorneys have filed for compensation, which would be $50,000 for each year he served under Florida’s exoneree compensation law – for a total of $1.75 million.