An 83-year-old man from Cleveland, Ohio, finally gained his freedom last Wednesday, Oct. 27, after reportedly spending 45 years in prison for the 1974 murder of his wife, a crime he claimed that he didn’t do.
According to Cleveland.com, with assistance from the Ohio Innocence Project, Isaiah Andrews got his previous conviction overturned in 2020 after they found that investigative reports related to an additional suspect were withheld from Andrew and his legal team, according to Cleveland.com leading to a retrial.
According to the Cleveland Scene, jurors came back with a unanimous vote of not guilty after deliberating shortly over an hour in the retrial. And though Andrews can begin a new life as a free man, it’s clear that he can never get all of those years back.
Andrews had reportedly only been married a few weeks before his wife, Regina Andrews, was killed in 1974. According to Cleveland.com, she was tragically found stabbed to death and wrapped in hotel linen in a city park.
It’s a good day for justice in #Ohio — OIP client Isaiah Andrews was found not guilty in the retrial staged by Cleveland prosecutors of his conviction in the 1974 murder of his wife. It took the jury just 90 minutes to reach their unanimous verdict! https://t.co/1Ay9d4c1Vb
— OhioInnocenceProject (@theOhioInnProj) October 27, 2021
And though no evidence physically connected him to the murder, testimony from two reported witnesses was enough to convict him at the time, the Cleveland Scene reported. After being convicted on an aggravated murder charge in his original trial, Andrews was sentenced to life in prison.
Police were initially investigating a suspect named Willie Watts, according to Cleveland.com, but turned their attention to Andrews after the local coroner’s office submitted a conflicting time of death report for his wife. Members of the Ohio Innocence Project reportedly discovered that information related to an investigation into Watts had been withheld from Andrew’s legal team, leading to the overturning of his previous conviction and a new trial.
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Andrews reportedly nodded his head and hugged his legal team after hearing the not guilty verdict last week, Cleveland.com reported.
Marcus Sidoti, a defense lawyer for Andrews, commented about the new verdict in a statement, according to the Cleveland Scene, writing, “For over four decades Isaiah Andrews has fought for justice for his wife and his freedom. Today the jury got it right. He is finally vindicated. Isaiah will never get these decades of his life back, but he can now live the remainder of his life a free man,”
Sharing his feelings of relief after spending 45 years in prison, the Ohio man told reporters after the recent trial, “I’ve become free.”
No word on if he and his team will pursue a wrongful conviction lawsuit.