The 42-year-old Nevada gentleman was freed from prison after 23-years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. He felt “a little overwhelmed” by the changes in the city where he was arrested when 19.
But recently he sat flanked by his wife of 7-years Odilia Berry, and lawyers who struggled to get him released from his sentence of “life without parole.” He said he just wants to go to a barber school and have a normal life.
“It was a surreal moment. Just taking it all in,” Berry explained, noting the unfamiliar freeways, homes, and buildings, he saw.
He only had with him a debit card for prison commissary account and his release papers.
“It means everything to me,” said Odilia, wearing a necklace written “Amazin” and thanking God for her husband’s freedom.
The dismissal of Berry’s conviction came following Steven Jackson, 45 and who is serving life without parole in California for a separate murder conviction in 1996, confessed to having committed the crime, which was channeled to Berry.
Wilcox, a lawyer from Salt Lake City, worked on Berry’s case for free alongside the ‘Rocky Mountain Innocence Center.’
“They really did the job. They did the footwork. If they were not as thorough as they were, I wouldn’t be here,” Berry said. “I’d just be another member in prison.”
It’s being estimated that over 500 Nevada inmates, may be wrongfully convicted.
Before his arrest in April 1994, Berry used to sell drugs and hang out at a neighboring bar, according to 1995 testimony. That bar is gone now—closed as a nuisance by the City Council.
Las Vegas and neighboring Clark County doubled in population while Berry was away. Downtown hotels just like the Lady Luck, closed.
He’ll soon learn how to use the internet, cell phone, and computer.
One thing he will keep from behind bars is “work ethic,” he said.
“I figured that for me to be a better person than I was…, I have to learn to do something distinct,” Berry explained, “so I took it upon myself and learned a trade—Barbering.”
Attorney Lynn Davies stated that “it’s too soon to say whether Berry will sue over his wrongful conviction and imprisonment.”
“I guess, Forgiving is, a large word,” said Berry. “I just want to continue with my life. I’ve got a second chance in life, and I’ll take that opportunity.”
Indeed it’s both joyful and hurting at the same time.