BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After spending nearly three decades in prison, a Baltimore City man was set free Tuesday after it was revealed he was wrongfully convicted for a murder in 1991.
Clarence Shipley’s first act as a free man was to hug his mother in a long embrace, sporting a smile from ear to ear after having been denied for nearly 30 years.
“I just thank God,” said Ola Shipley, Clarence’s mother. “Thank God, you all just don’t know how I feel.”
This is the fourth exoneration under State Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s administration.
“Freedom feels good,” said Clarence Shipley.
Shipley says he holds no ill will towards the eyewitness that pointed him out in the first place. He’s just happy to be home for the holidays after having spent the last 27 Christmas’ behind bars.
He was almost at a loss for words when it hit him that he’ll be home for this one with his 8-year-old son.
Shipley left the courthouse Tuesday night after Circuit Court Judge Jeffery Geller granted a joint petition that made it official so that all charges would be dropped against him.
While there was joy, the reality of the life missed wasn’t far from Shipley’s mind.
“I lost a lot,” said Shipley. “I lost a child, while I was behind bars, a child that I never got to know, my family.”
His exoneration follows the re-investigation of the 1991 murder of Baltimore chef, Kevin Smith, who was shot and killed in Cherry Hill.
Authorities said two witnesses wrongfully named Shipley as the shooter, which led to his conviction.
“Newly gathered exculpatory indirect and direct evidence supports the fact that Clarence Shipley did not murder Kevin Smith,” said State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby.
The new evidence came to light after a private investigator turned to the University of Baltimore Innocence Project to look into Shipley’s case.
The project presented their findings to the Baltimore State’s Attorney Conviction Integrity Unit.
“Without truth, there cannot be justice in the criminal justice system,” said Michele Nethercott, director of the Innocence Project Clinic.
Though it may have taken years, truth as set Clarence Shipley free but it’s love that has kept him going.