Maryland man was exonerated and freed Tuesday ending nearly three decades of incarceration on a wrongful murder conviction
Clarence Shipley, 47, was wrongly jailed for murder in 1991 at the age of 20, based on a false witness testimony
He spent nearly 27 years behind bars after he was accused of shooting Kevin Smith, 29, in 1991 outside a shopping center in Baltimore
Shipley who missed the birth of a son while behind bars and lost another in a house fire, was surrounded by his family as he forgave the false witnesses
His family hired a retired detective four years ago who uncovered catastrophic flaws in the investigation – witnesses lied on the stand
Prosecutors said new witness evidence identified Larry Davis who died in 2005 as the killer
Clarence Shipley [center] stands outside court with members of his legal team as Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, addresses the media
Shipley becomes the fourth man exonerated through the work of the innocence projects headed by Marilyn Mosby, in collaboration with the two DC area schools.
“The system did something wrong that a man, an innocent man, in the prime of his life, spent 27 years behind bars,” Mosby said outside the courthouse.
Mosby said that at least one witness lied during his initial trial and that her office was investigating whether to bring charges of perjury.
Clarence Shipley helds no ill will. – “I forgive them,” he said. “I’m just wanting to go to church.”
Shipley’s family had gathered to await his release. His mother, Ola, told of calling her son behind bars and telling him to have faith.
“You got to keep praying,” she said. “Look at what God did. He opened the door.”
Reminiscing on what was lost during those years, she recalls her son missed the chance to see his own son grow up. Another son was killed in a house fire. He missed the birth of his grandson. His wedding was behind bars at the state prison in Hagerstown
Outside court Clarence himself appeared overcome and said little before the crowd of attorneys, families and TV cameras. He said he felt blessed.
“I just kept believing in God,” he said.
The work of freeing innocent people behind bars is undertaken by teams of researchers, lawyers and college students with the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Baltimore and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project at George Washington.
To date they have helped secure the release and exoneration of 30 innocent men who served a combined 545 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.