A 59-year old woman who has spent the past seventeen years behind bars was on Friday, October 10, 2014 acquitted after she was previously erroneously jailed for murder, ABC reports.
The woman, Susan Marie Mellen had this to say: “I always knew that one day God would bring the truth to the light,”
A Los Angeles county judge had earlier overturned her life sentence, adding that her lawyer had not adequately represented her and the witness upon which her conviction was based was a “habitual liar”.
Superior court judge Mark Arnold said: “I believe she is innocent. For that reason I believe in this case the justice system failed.”
The courtroom showed their appreciation for the ruling with several rounds of applause.
Mellen had been earlier convicted for the murder of homeless Richard Daly.
Mellen clapped and screamed after she finally had the chance to hug her 9-month old grandson Aiden
“I’m a free woman now. Let me do the running man”, she said, jogging around.
A witness, June Patti who has had a long history of telling lies to law enforcement agents in the past had testified against Mellen which got her convicted. Three gang members have subsequently been linked to the crime, with one of them convicted of killing Daly.
Mellen said she has since forgiven those responsible for her incarceration. She said: “No, no, I always forgave my enemies. Even your haters, you have to forgive them and sometimes you have to thank them because they bring you closer to God.”
She also said she would like to have a McDonalds meal with her youngest daughter.
“Me and her were at McDonald’s when I got arrested and we didn’t have a happy meal that day. It’s a happy ending right now…We’re going to have a new beginning.” Mellen said.
Her 25 year old son, who was a toddler when she was imprisoned is now a navy officer and had to wait a few days before his redeployment.
Her 27-year old daughter, said she and her mother could finally go dress shopping together as she and her fiance had been waiting for eight years for mellen to get released so she could be at the wedding.