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Oakland man free nearly 7 years after wrongful conviction

February 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
He was sent to San Quentin on the testimony of a witness who lied. Nearly seven years later, Ronald Ross is finally a free man.

Ross stepped out of Santa Rita Jail Friday afternoon and graciously spoke with reporters. He was humble and thankful about his release, something that likely wouldn't have come about without the support of The Innocence Project.

Ross says he's not angry, but anxious to get on with his life.

Ross squinted in the sunlight as he walked out the front door of the Santa Rita Jail, his first taste of freedom in nearly seven years.

"Today is a lovely day, blessed day for me to be out here again," Ross said.

Ross was ordered released during an emotional hearing in Oakland. Minutes after the judge wished him well and set aside her son's conviction, Thelma Ross described her joy.

"God is good all the time; I'm so proud that God brought him through," she said.

A man with no violent history, Ross was convicted in 2006 of attempted murder after a man was shot on Campbell Street in West Oakland.

The victim picked Ross out of a photo lineup but later, evidence came to light that someone else did the shooting. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office agreed and withdrew its support of the 2006 jury verdict.

The California Innocence Project says there are more people like Ross in prison.

"Certainly there are more wrongfully convicted people in prison; the causes of wrongful convctions can span all different crimes," Linda Starr said.

Ross was most recently housed at San Quentin, and though the 51-year-old has been imprisoned for nearly seven years, his attorney says he's not bitter.

"I think today when the judge finally said the words, Mr. Ross was finally really able to let himself believe that this was happening, today," Ross' attorney Jo Golub said.

Ross already has a plan for the future.

"I want to deal with the kids, problem kids, you know, try to show them the right path to take," he said.

ABC7 News asked Ross if he might pursue legal action against Oakland police or the county for his wrongful conviction. He did not want to comment. There is a provision in California law that allows for exonerated ex-prisoners to collect some money from the state.


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