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Man wrongly-convicted of murder sits down with 9 on your side

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MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. -

A North Carolina man was released from prison after spending 20 years behind bars for a murder he didn't commit.

Larry Lamb was convicted for the 1987 murder of a Duplin County bootlegger.

This week a judge tossed Lamb's conviction and the Duplin County District Attorney's office dropped the murder charge against him. He was the last of three suspects to be released from prison.

The prosecution relied heavily on Lovely Lorden's testimony to win the convictions, but 5 years ago that testimony came into question when she changed her story.

Still, not everyone is convinced she lied. A retired prosecutor says the witness was convincing and he still believes she is a credible witness.

"Am I going to sit here and say I'm convinced beyond a reasonable doubt at that this point that they're guilty? No, I'm not," he said. "On the other hand, I'm sure not going to declare them innocent either," said Dewey Hudson, Retired District Attorney.

There was never any physical evidence linking Lamb or any of the other suspects to the crime. To this day, Larry Lamb maintains his innocence.

Just three days after he walked out of prison a free man, he sat down with 9 on your side's Kristen Hunter to talk about life behind bars and life moving forward.

It's the little things in life we take for granted. The sway of a porch swing. Flowers blooming. The simple luxuries that were stripped away from Larry Lamb.

"For two years or more...as far as looking up in the sky and seeing the stars I wasn't able to do that," said Lamb.

When police knocked on Lambs door in 1992 he was shocked.

"They had told me I was under arrest and I asked what for. They said murder. ‘Murder? Murder who?'"

Lovely Lorden told police she was with lamb and two other men when they committed the murder. Her testimony has been largely credited with landing Lamb behind bars. He was sentenced to life in prison.

"I knew one day I would be free. When? I didn't know," said Lamb.

Now that he's able to look back on those years in prison, Lamb says he made the most of them. He chose to keep busy working and going to school.

"There's negative life in prison and there's a positive life. I chose the positive life," Lamb said.

But that doesn't mean it was an easy road. His children, especially his youngest son, had a difficult time.

"Whenever their mother died in 2005, and I was talking with them on the phone and I was telling them I was sorry I wouldn't be able to be at the funeral, that's when I realized his hurt and his feeling. Because he told me, ‘look...we don't just need you know. We've been needing you'," he said.

Tuesday Lamb and his family were reunited. Lamb was free…an innocent man.

"Do you hold any grudges?" asked 9 on your side's Kristen Hunter.

"No, you know years ago I knew in order for me to move on with my life, whether it be in there or out here, you  have to let go of that. So I began to pray for those people…I can be honest and say I wasn't with whoever did it," Lamb said.

Now he's most looking forward to getting back to the little things.

"We can't change the past but let's take today…what we have today. And go forward for the future."

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