His attorney, Jeffrey Harris, told CNN that Clark, who was released from prison on Wednesday, is “extremely pleased” with the decision.
“He’s been arguing for 50 years that he got an unfair trial – the court agreed with him,” Harris said. “And that’s in large part because a great guy came forward and said he might have gotten the wrong guy in 1973.” . “We really appreciate the work that the DA Office has done, Judge Roach’s consideration, and the Supreme Court. We’re really pleased with this result.”
District Attorney Rachel Rollins said the case came to the attention of her office after the victim raised doubts about Clark’s identification.
“When we began to study the case, we learned that for nearly half a century, the Commonwealth had lost or destroyed evidence that was likely to be expository,” Rollins said. “Both the defendant and this administration have been denied the opportunity to conduct modern forensic examinations due to the failure of previous administrations to preserve DNA evidence. The Commonwealth should never profit from our failures and mistakes.”
Harris said Clark will have Thanksgiving with his only surviving relative, his brother.
“He will be outside and in the vicinity of his family – that is nothing,” his lawyer added.
Clark’s other convictions related to the 1973 incident, including burglary and kidnapping, were unaffected because those convictions were based on other evidence and testimony, according to the statement.
“The plaintiffs are primarily the attorneys general,” Rollins said in the statement. “We must not prioritize ultimate value over justice. If we discover that the Commonwealth has not met the high standard required of us, we must always act in the interests of justice. That is exactly what we have done here.”