(CNN) — There are many ways to measure 30 years, but for Glenn Ford, the yardstick is simple.
“My sons — when I left — was babies. Now they grown men with babies,” he said, speaking as a free man for the first time in nearly three decades.
Ford, Louisiana’s longest-serving death row prisoner, walked free Tuesday after spending nearly 30 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit.
“My mind’s going all kinds of directions, but it feels good,” Ford, 64, told reporters outside the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, according to CNN affiliate WAFB.
One reporter asked whether he harbors any resentment.
“Yeah, because I was locked up almost 30 years for something I didn’t do,” said Ford, who wore a denim shirt, a hat and dark-rimmed glasses.
“Thirty years of my life, if not all of it,” he said, WAFB reported. “I can’t go back.”
According to the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana, a judge ordered that Ford be freed Monday after prosecutors petitioned the court to release him.
New information corroborated what Ford had said all along: that he was not present at nor involved in the November 5, 1983, slaying of Isadore Rozeman, the project said.
“We are very pleased to see Glenn Ford finally exonerated, and we are particularly grateful that the prosecution and the court moved ahead so decisively to set Mr. Ford free,” said Gary Clements and Aaron Novod, Ford’s attorneys.
They have argued his trial was compromised by the unconstitutional suppression of evidence and by inexperienced counsel.
Ford had been on death row since 1984, making him one of the longest-serving death row prisoners in the United States.
“After 30 years, Louisiana’s longest-serving death row prisoner will get his freedom soon,” Amnesty International USA senior campaigner Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris said in a statement shortly before his release.
“Glenn Ford is living proof of just how flawed our justice system truly is. We are moved that Mr. Ford, an African-American man convicted by an all-white jury, will be able to leave death row a survivor.”