Innocence Project client Felipe Rodriguez was released on Thursday after serving 26 years in prison for a murder he maintains he did not commit. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo commuted his sentence last month.
Rodriguez was convicted of murder in 1990 based largely on the testimony of a police informant who previously admitted in a recorded interview that he fabricated his story. The Innocence Project has been working on his case for nearly a decade.
Rodriguez twice waived his right to a parole hearing because he refused to say he was guilty of the crime. While serving his sentence, Rodriguez became heavily involved in the Catholic Church and served as a spiritual advisor to other prisoners.
Upon his release, Rodriguez was greeted by his son, Felipe Jr., with whom he remained close throughout his incarceration.
“He was the reason why I fought so hard,” Rodriguez said. “I never gave up because of that kid right there […] I fought for my son.”
“There’s no words that exist to explain this,” said Felipe Jr.
The Innocence Project will continue to work with Rodriguez’s attorney Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma to secure his exoneration.