Two men who spent 43 years of their lives behind bars have been exonerated after years of proclaiming their innocence.

Clifford Williams Jr. was 34 and his nephew, Hubert Nathan Myers, was only 18 when they were arrested in 1976.

Following a two-day trial, the pair were convicted for shooting Jeanette Williams and her girlfriend, Nina Marshall, in an apartment — one died, while the other lived. However, further investigation into the shooting revealed neither man was responsible.

They were at a party in Jacksonville with scores of other attendees at the time of the shooting. According to The Hill, the women knew the men socially. Marshall told authorities the two men were the culprits despite evidence disputing her claim.   

"I'm nervous because I feel like I'm still locked up," Williams told CNN Thursday. "Once I get with my family and know I can look back ... and the reality hits in, I think I'll be all right."

They are now 76 and 61 years old, respectively. After pleading their innocence, new details have been released surrounding the case. There was no physical evidence linking them to the shooting.

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"In fact, the physical and scientific evidence actually contradicts her testimony about what happened," according to a report from the state attorney's office.

The woman said the gunman was at the foot of the bed. Evidence showed the gunshots came from outside, and there was only one gun.

Also, Nathaniel Lawson confessed to the 1976 shooting years after the pair were convicted. He died in 1994, but Lawson answered truthfully to a polygraph before his passing.

The Associated Press reports Williams and Myers are the first people to be freed due to Florida's new initiative of reviewing claims of wrongful conviction that started last year. In a statement, the Conviction Integrity Review (CIR) division of the State’s Attorney’s Office wrote it “no longer has confidence in the integrity of the convictions or guilt of the accused.”

"Everyone else had plugs in their ears and wouldn't listen," said Myers.

It turns out only Myers will be able to receive compensation from the state. According to The Florida Times-Union, Williams is not eligible due to his criminal record before the 1976 shooting.


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