Man walks free after spending 20 years in prison for crime he didn't commit

On Tuesday, an LA County judge reversed 41-year-old Marco Contreras' conviction for a 1996 attempted murder and robbery at a Compton gas station.

"I’m feeling great. Terrific. It’s good to be out," said Contreras.

It's a crime Contreras always claimed he never committed.

"I was coming off of work. I was sleeping. I worked a graveyard shift. I was living an ordinary life," said Contreras.

An ordinary life suddenly became life in prison plus seven years.

"It was frustrating at first but I passed that. I tried not to fall into depression or anything like that," said Contreras. 

A glimmer of hope came into his life five years ago when Loyola Law School's Project for the Innocent picked up Contreras's case.

They say his conviction was based on inaccurate eyewitness ID.

More recently, the DA's office arrested others for the crime.

"There are people in custody who are in custody right now who will have to face the crime they did that Marco spent time in prison for," said Contreras.

FOX 11 got an exclusive look at Contreras reuniting with all his family members.

His mother said her son he had never previously been convicted of a crime. Not even a parking ticket.

"From the beginning, I said he was innocent, he didn’t even have a parking ticket," said his mom.

Contreras now walks out a free man, saying he's looking forward to spending upcoming religious holidays with family.

"Very excited. It’s going to be very different as a free man to be with them, enjoy life with them," said Contreras.

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