A man who spent a decade on death row for a double murder that he didn’t commit has been freed by a Florida court.
Clemente Aguirre-Jarquin, 38, spent a total of 14 years in jail after he found the bodies of his former neighbours Cheryl Williams, 47, and Carole Bareis, 68.
The Honduran man didn’t notify authorities out of fear of deportation due to his undocumented status – but now he’s been released, he could still face extradition.
According to the MailOnline, Aguirre-Jarquin was freed after new DNA evidence linked Samantha Williams – Cheryl Williams’ daughter and Bareis’ granddaughter – to the murders.
When he was freed on Monday, he told the judge in a Seminole County court: “From the bottom of my heart, this humble immigrant thanks you. I have only forgiveness in my heart for those who did wrong to me.”
Following transfer to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility he was officially released from custody.
Regarding the deportation issue, Aguirre-Jarquin’s lawyers told the Orlando Sun-Sentinel that they will seek an asylum claim for him.
According to The Innocence Project, even when the new evidence came to light, Florida prosecutors said they would still be seeking the death penalty.
The MailOnline reported that Samantha Williams made comments to a friend and neighbours that she was the killer.
The Florida Supreme Court also pointed to DNA evidence tested after the trial that showed Williams’ blood was at the scene where her mother and grandmother were stabbed to death in June 2004 in Seminole County.
Following his 2004 arrest, authorities said there was overwhelming evidence against him: his blood-soaked clothes, bloody footprints and a tie to the murder weapon.
WKMG-TV revealed that Aguirre-Jarquin’s lawyers successfully argued before the court that the blood stains on his clothing came as a result of him checking whether the victims were breathing.
None of the blood discovered at the scene was Aguirre-Jarquin’s and he was convicted in 2006.
A spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office announced that it wouldn’t prosecute the innocent man, whose second trial was due to begin this week.
They said: “While the State has serious concerns about the credibility of Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin’s statement of facts regarding his participation in this incident, the State does not believe further incarceration of Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin is warranted or justified at this time.
“We appreciate the efforts of his attorneys in presenting this new evidence.”
This article originally appeared on theladbible