A man whose capital murder conviction has been overturned after he spent 13 years behind bars says he won't be satisfied until his innocence is proven through a new trial.
"If the case is dropped where does that leave me?" Randall Dale Adams told The Associated Press on Wednesday after a state appeals court overturned his conviction. "It leaves me on the courthouse steps with nothing."The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Adams, whose conviction for the 1976 slaying of a Dallas police officer was questioned in the film "The Thin Blue Line," had been denied a fair trial because witnesses lied and the prosecutor suppressed evidence.
It ordered the 40-year-old Adams transferred from the Eastham Unit state prison to the custody of Dallas County, where he will be entitled to release on bond, said his attorney, Randy Schaffer.
"This is what I've been asking for for 13 years. I'm happy to have a second chance," Adams said.
"I felt from the beginning I would win this case," he added. "It's taken 121/2, 13 years. I have never had a doubt this would come."
The case attracted attention last year with the release of Errol Morris' documentary. Morris said from Los Angeles he was "delighted and relieved" and hoped people realized that Adams was not getting off on a technicality.
"Randall Adams is truly an innocent man," Morris said. "And there was a terrible miscarriage of justice 12 years ago."
The Dallas County District Attorney will decide soon whether to pursue a retrial, said assistant prosecutor Norm Kinne.
Although Adams said he does not believe the state will retry him, Schaffer predicted prosecutors will insist on a new trial for political reasons.
"I am certain the state does not have evidence to persuade a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Adams committed this crime," he said. "Every witness in the case has been totally and completely discredited."
Asked whether he was bitter, Adams said, "I've had 13 years taken from my life. Can the state replace that?" He has worked as a clerk in the prison maintenance office and earned an associate degree in general studies while imprisoned.
In 1979, Adams was within three days of death when his execution was stayed. The next year, his death sentence was commuted to life.