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After three decades in prison, man welcomed home after sentence commuted

Thirty-six years and ten days, that's how long Rodney Lincoln was in prison before his sentence was commuted for a cr...

Posted: Jul 30, 2018 10:03 PM
Updated: Jul 30, 2018 10:03 PM

Thirty-six years and ten days, that's how long Rodney Lincoln was in prison before his sentence was commuted for a crime he still says he never committed.

"This is my welcome home party," exclaims Rodney Lincoln.

He's basking in his freedom surrounded by friends and family some of whom he's never met. This comes after former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens commuted his sentence on his last day in office.

"For the last 36 years I've been a 10-year-old little girl waiting for her daddy to come home and now he's home. It's amazing, so surreal and sometimes I have to pinch him to make sure it's real," says his daughter Kellie Porter.

Lincoln was supposed to serve 15 years plus two consecutive life sentences. He was charged with murdering JoAnn Tate in her St. Louis apartment back in 1982 and attacking her two daughters with a knife.

Lincoln's lawyer, Tricia Bushnell, with the Midwest Innocence Project says Rodney is free but he hasn't been exonerated despite Governor Greitens acknowledging his innocence.

She says, "You look at Mr. Lincoln's case where there's no evidence left to convict him. The witness who identified him says it's not him. The hair that they said matched his DNA says it wasn't him. So, what's left? You couldn't even arrest him today. We can't get justice here if we can't fix that and so I think that's what we have to look at. What's the system that we want?"

Rodney wants to be a part of that change by sharing his story. He wants to give hope to others who've been wrongfully convicted.

For now, Rodney is trying to readjust to the outside world he hasn't been a part of for more than 30 years and he's embracing it with open arms.

"I went back to my old neighborhood and it wasn't my old neighborhood anymore or something. Now just like this,my life is something new," he says.

Rodney's attorney plans to file another petition for clemency this time hoping he'll be exonerated for the crime.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7017157
DeSoto544859
Harrison378073
Jackson341869
Madison321886
Rankin320276
Lee263368
Jones243878
Forrest240971
Washington218671
Lafayette211639
Lauderdale2015124
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Oktibbeha175950
Lamar163934
Neshoba1548104
Panola144927
Sunflower142945
Lowndes141257
Warren138250
Leflore137781
Pontotoc124116
Pike121749
Monroe119966
Scott116825
Copiah116433
Coahoma113627
Holmes109458
Marshall108015
Lincoln107353
Grenada106835
Yazoo104130
Simpson101544
Union98324
Tate95837
Leake94138
Adams92236
Wayne87721
Pearl River86952
Marion84234
Prentiss82617
Covington80822
Itawamba78021
Alcorn77611
Tallahatchie76221
Newton76123
George75513
Winston73119
Tishomingo66537
Chickasaw66224
Tippah65017
Attala64325
Walthall59525
Clay58217
Hancock56921
Clarke56342
Jasper55915
Noxubee54515
Smith52614
Calhoun50712
Tunica48113
Montgomery45821
Claiborne45616
Lawrence42712
Yalobusha41914
Perry41318
Quitman3755
Humphreys37415
Stone36012
Greene35417
Webster33213
Jefferson Davis32911
Amite31410
Carroll31412
Wilkinson30118
Kemper28615
Sharkey26313
Jefferson2439
Benton2232
Franklin1913
Choctaw1806
Issaquena1033
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 132452

Reported Deaths: 2335
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19230342
Mobile13192291
Montgomery8711175
Madison767475
Tuscaloosa7355114
Lee576560
Shelby576550
Baldwin512449
Marshall388943
Calhoun339040
Etowah338447
Morgan322626
Houston275322
Elmore258647
DeKalb237519
St. Clair225535
Walker225080
Talladega209927
Limestone202119
Cullman186819
Dallas176226
Franklin174828
Russell17302
Autauga171425
Lauderdale166233
Colbert162126
Blount157314
Escambia157325
Jackson152711
Chilton151328
Dale134143
Covington133427
Coffee12898
Pike11729
Chambers114042
Tallapoosa113984
Clarke106317
Marion95228
Butler91138
Barbour8487
Winston71812
Marengo70219
Lowndes65127
Pickens63914
Bibb63510
Randolph62413
Hale61628
Lawrence60320
Bullock59314
Geneva5844
Monroe5798
Cherokee57516
Clay5537
Washington54913
Perry5396
Conecuh53011
Wilcox53011
Crenshaw52532
Henry4805
Macon47920
Fayette4299
Sumter42319
Lamar3552
Choctaw34612
Cleburne3346
Greene30215
Coosa1673
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