HOUSTON -- A Texas man who has spent the last 27 years imprisoned for a rape he didn't commit is free.
Michael Anthony Green walked out of jail Friday after a judge ordered he be freed on a $500 bond.
His release was made possible after the Harris County District Attorney's Office reopened his case. New DNA tests it commissioned showed he did not commit a 1983 rape of a woman who had been abducted. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will make a final ruling on his innocence.
His family members said they were grateful they would soon be reunited with their loved one.
"He can come home and live like a regular man, like a free man," said Adrian Taylor, Green's older brother.
Taylor said he wasn't angry that his brother was imprisoned for nearly three decades for a crime he didn't commit.
"It's a kind of disappointment in some ways. It should have been handled sooner than 27 years," he said.
His bond hearing and release had been set for Thursday but were delayed by a day after the reality of his impending freedom proved to be too much for Green.
On Thursday, before he was brought in front of visiting state District Judge Mike Wilkinson, Green became too emotional and angry while waiting in a holding cell. On the day he was to be freed for a crime he didn't commit, Green became upset that he was put in handcuffs and leg restraints one final time as he was taken from the county jail to the courthouse, said Bob Wicoff, his attorney.
Wicoff, as well as prosecutors and Wilkinson decided to let Green remain jailed one more day so he could compose himself. Green was calm during Friday's court hearing, saying very little.
Wicoff said Green was justified in his anger as his life had been taken away. Green entered prison an 18 year old and was set to leave as a 44-year-old man.
"He forgives the victim. I don't know if he'll be able to forgive the police. I don't think they should be forgiven. It shouldn't have happened," said Wicoff, who blames bad police work with leading to Green's conviction.
Authorities said that in 1983, four men abducted a woman from a pay telephone in north Houston, taking her to a remote location where three of them raped her. The men drove off, leaving the woman there, but were later chased by police. The men abandoned their car and fled on foot. Green was detained by officers that night as he walked in the area.
The victim could not identify Green in person when he was first detained but later picked him from a photo lineup as one of her three attackers.
Green maintained his innocence but was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 75 years in prison. He was the only person convicted in the case.
New DNA tests were done after his case was reopened by the Post-Conviction Review Section of the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
In another case reviewed by the section, Allen Wayne Porter, 39, of Houston, was freed on bond last week after newly uncovered evidence showed he was innocent of a 1990 sexual assault. He had spent 19 years in prison. His case is also being reviewed by the appeals court.