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An uncle and nephew who had been imprisoned for 42 years for a murder in Florida, USA, were vindicated Thursday when prosecutors asked a judge to vacate their convictions, saying they no longer believed in the men’s guilt.

Clifford Williams, 76, and Hubert ‘Nathan’ Myers, 61, wiped away tears after the judge said she was vacating their convictions for the 1976 fatal shooting of Jeanette Williams and the attempted murder of her girlfriend, Nina Marshall.

The women, who knew the defendants socially, were asleep in bed at the time of the shooting.

They are the first men cleared since the state attorney’s office in Jacksonville started an initiative last year reviewing claims of wrongful conviction, the first effort of its kind in Florida.

When he got outside Myers kissed the ground outside as supporters praised God for the turnaround.

‘Thank you lord Jesus Christ,’ he said after standing up from his kneeling position.

But he admitted to News 4 Jax that he was apprehensive.

‘I’m nervous, you know, because I feel like I’m still locked up, he confessed. ‘Once I get with my family and you can look back and not have any officers telling me what to do and how to do it, then reality hit me, I think I’ll be alright.’

Their first trial, two months after their arrest, ended in mistrial and Myers was offered a five-year sentence in exchange for testifying against his uncle but he turned down the deal.

The men were convicted at a second trial during which prosecutors contended a $50 drug debt was the motive. The jury recommended a life sentence for Williams but he was sentenced to death by a judge. An appeal four years later overturned that to life behind bars.

Williams never got the chance to reconnect with the family member who perhaps was most important.

‘Well, my mother died while I was on death row, and I just wanted to get out and be with my kids,’ he said. ‘There was nobody but them.’



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