Derrick Deacon still has a hard time enjoying his newfound freedom after spending nearly 25 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit, reports CNN's Pamela Brown.
In 1989, Deacon was convicted for shooting 16-year-old Anthony Wynn to death at an apartment building during an alleged robbery.
Prosecutors insist to this day that a handyman witnessed the men arguing and saw Deacon with a gun. But they had no forensic evidence, no eyewitness to the actual shooting.
Derrick said, “I blame the prosecutor. Also in a way, I blame my witness, the first witness. A female– a female girl.”
That witness is Colleen Campbell, who spoke to CNN only if we concealed her identity.
She faced off with the killer on a building landing. During the investigation, police asked her if the man she encountered was Deacon – known by his nickname- Fire.
Campbell said, "Them bring the picture of Fire and them ask me say if it is this man. I tell them no. It was a young boy, he's 19, 20."
Her description of the man she fought with – in a 1989 police report – didn't match Deacon at all. He was older and taller, with a full head of hair and a beard. The defense counted on her testimony.
Campbell even passed this lie detector test about her account, but she says prosecutors still pushed her to change her story and give vague testimony.
She says they even threatened to have her children taken away if she didn't cooperate. These are claims prosecutors deny.
Deacon was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years to life.
In 2001, an FBI informant involved in a separate investigation said Fire had been arrested for a murder he didn't commit. He blamed someone named Pablo for Wynn's murder.
This new information eventually led to a retrial in 2009 where Colleen Campbell testified again. This time, she told jurors the man she saw definitively wasn't Deacon. That left only the handyman's testimony on its own.
Just last month, it took the new jury less than ten minutes to acquit Deacon of the murder– finally giving him his freedom.
Newt Gingrich is fighting back against conservative critics who attacked the former Speaker of the House and co-host of CNN's “Crossfire” for his praise of Nelson Mandela.
After Mandela passed away Thursday, Gingrich posted a statement, praising him as "one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime."
The right-wing response was overwhelmingly reproachful.
"Such an amazing re-write of history since 1962 and 1990. Newt, I thought you of all people, a historian, would be true to who this guy really was," Mike Winkelman posted on Gingrich's Facebook page.
"This clenched-fist, murdering, gorilla warrior does not deserve respect from informed Americans," posted Trish Baehr-Schaefer.
There were several others posts, many generating dozens of "likes," and some with language unfit for publication.
But Gingrich shot back with a statement Saturday, challenging his critics to ask themselves what they would have done in Mandela's shoes.
"Some of the people who are most opposed to oppression from Washington attack Mandela when he was opposed to oppression in his own country. After years of preaching non-violence, using the political system, making his case as a defendant in court, Mandela resorted to violence against a government that was ruthless and violent in its suppression of free speech," he wrote.
He went on to compare Mandela to the Founding Fathers and the farmers who took up arms at Lexington and Concord in the Revolutionary War. He praised the former South African president for his calls for reconciliation, his Christian faith and his turn from Communism to opening South Africa up to free enterprise.
"I was very surprised by it," Gingrich said Sunday CNN's "State of the Union" about the backlash.
"Callista posted my statement on her Facebook page and was amazed at some of the intensity, some of whom came back three, four and five times, repeating how angry they were."
Gingrich continued: "Ironically, most of the things that people complained about occurred during the 27 years he was in prison."
Gingrich has a long history as a Mandela supporter. During the Reagan administration, he was among the many Republicans in Congress who pressured the president to impose sanctions on the apartheid regime.
Fellow conservative Ted Cruz faced a similar backlash this week when he posted a respectful tribute to Mandela that generated angry criticisms. No comment yet from the Texas senator on the reaction of some of his supporters.
The defense and prosecution agree on this much: Jordan Linn Graham pushed her husband of eight days, and he fell off a cliff to his death in Glacier National Park in Montana.
The question for jurors will be whether Graham's act was murder or an accident caused by self-defense.
Graham's trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection Monday in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Montana,
Cody Johnson, 25, disappeared July 7. Four days later, the FBI says, Graham led friends and relatives to a popular spot in the park, where they found Johnson's body.
The 21-year-old new bride at first maintained she had simply speculated Johnson might have gone there. But an FBI agent said that she changed her story when she was shown a surveillance photo of the couple entering the park together.
"Bottom line is eight days after you're marriage, you have surveillance photos of both of them walking into the park, he ends up dead at the bottom of a cliff and she tells no one. That's really all I need."
What exactly Graham said next to the FBI will be fiercely contested at the trial.
At a pre-trial hearing November 15, Graham testified, "We went on a little stump part and we were in the middle of an argument and he thought I was going to run away. Cody had grabbed me and I thought he was going to push me down. My first instinct was to get him off."
In a court fiilng, the defense said Graham pushed Johnson away as she removed his hand from her arm, and her husband tumbled over the cliff.
But the criminal complaint against her says that in an FBI interview, "Graham stated she could have just walked away, but due to her anger, she pushed Johnson with both hands in the back and as a result, he fell face first off the cliff."
Her attorney, federal public defender Michael Donahoe, said the FBI did not record the first hour and 20 minutes of Graham's interrogation. He accused an FBI agent of then making "an epic effort" to get Graham to use "key words" in a recorded session that would support a criminal conviction.
A defense motion says that in two subsequent recorded FBI interviews, Graham said she acted in self-defense and that her husband's fall was an accident.
Graham, who had been a part-time nanny, is accused of murder and making false statements.
The case is being prosecuted in federal court before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy because the incident occurred in a national park.
Tom Wagner woke up Friday night and the plane cabin was dark. And empty. Completely empty.
He looked around from his window seat near the back of the jet and wondered, "What is going on?"
He tried the jet door. It was locked.
Wagner told "New Day" Monday that he called his girlfriend, and she thought he was kidding, or crazy.
"She started laughing. I says, I'm serious." Wagner said.
Eventually, she called United Airlines and about 30 minutes later, the door opened up.
Well, he must have been very, very tired, because as the three dozen other passengers deplaned after a one-hour flight, he dozed.
As the flight crew left the plane, he slept.
"What if I had a medical condition or something? What if I had a heart attack and I was dead? You just shut the plane and leave someone on there? It's the way I look at it," Wagner said.
Wagner stayed in a hotel room, on the airline, before flying to California the next day. He said United gave him a $250 voucher.
The flight was operated by ExpressJet, a United partner.
"ExpressJet is investigating to determine how this occurred. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused for the passenger," the carrier said Saturday in a written statement to CNN.
ExpressJet told affiliate KTRK there was a post-flight cabin inspection, but the company couldn't explain how Wagner was overlooked.