PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - On Tuesday, many celebrated the release of a man who was incarcerated for 24 years all while claiming his innocence but even as his story turned for the better there are several still locked up for crimes they say they didn't commit. FOX 29's Bill Anderson spoke to one of those men and his wife standing strong hoping his release day will soon come.
Terrence Lewis has served nearly 20 years of a life sentence for second degree murder. It's not a surprise that like many in jail he says he didn't do it. But in his case a federal judge and several witnesses actually agree that he didn't. So why is he still in jail?
"I'm not alleging that I have evidence to prove that I'm innocent. .I have already proved in front of a federal judge that I am in fact innocent," Terrence told FOX 29.
FOX 29's Bill Anderson saw the document from a federal judge that indicates that after reviewing his case she believes evidence points to the fact that he was not present and did not participate in a 1996 murder.
"There's no words to describe the disgust and disappointment and the heartache. To describe the feelings I had then and the feelings that I have now,' Terrence explained.
Terrence was not the accused shooter but was convicted of being on the scene of a robbery that went bad. The only witness against him was an admitted crack user who was high at the time. Over the years, it became clear that his then attorney never spoke to other witnesses who have now come forward who say Terrence wasn't there, and even though federal courts agree, un-timely appeals and procedural issues keep him in jail.
"They saying granted the facts that got you convicted show that you're not guilty however being as though your attorney dropped the ball you get the short end of the stick," Terrence explained.
20 years in jail for a crime he has always said he didn't commit, but FOX 29's Bill Anderson still asked Terrence is anything encouraging, the first words out of his mouth, you should speak to my wife.
"I never doubted that he was gonna come home, I just didn't know when, I still don't know when. I can see the doors are opening and there's light at the end of the tunnel," his wife said.
Hattie Lewis stands by Terrence unconditionally, which is even more amazing when you find out she married her then friend after he received his life sentence.
"Because I loved him and I believed in him. I just believe he didn't do it," Hattie said.
Attorneys told FOX 29's Bill Anderson that they believe Terrence will eventually be free either through review of the next DA, new witnesses that have also come forward or possible clemency from the governor but the process could take months or even years. Even so, Hattie has no regrets for standing by Terrence.
"I would do it again if I had the chance. Honestly because who he is has nothing to do with who people portray him to be," Hattie said.
Just Tuesday we celebrated a man released after 24 years but Terrance and Hattie hope we won't forget others who themselves may be innocent and still need support….For Goodness Sake.