Man freed 25 years after being wrongly convicted of murder

PHILADELPHIA - A Philadelphia man is out of prison more than 25 years after he was convicted of a murder he did not commit because authorities withheld evidence.

He was freed after a witness admitted she falsely implicated him during his trial and the district attorney's office also said authorities withheld evidence that could have exonerated him much sooner. 

Chester Hollman said he's adjusting to life as a free man.

"I don't think it's really hit me yet still. Just this morning I learned that this was happening. I'm still a little in shock, disbelief," Hollman said. 

He was found guilty of a murder he did not commit on May 4, 1993. 

"Knowing that you're in prison for something that you didn't do and trying to convince people that you're not lying, your innocence is true, it's real. It's an uphill battle," Hollman said. 

It was an uphill battle -- a battle the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office was ready to take on. 

"It was pretty clear to us that unfortunately the police department and the district attorney's office actually had evidence in their possession back at the time of trial. Had they disclosed that to the defense like they're constitutionally and ethically required to do, Mr. Hollman might not have ever stood trial, quite frankly," said Patricia Cummings, with the district attorney's office. 

Now that Hollman has been exonerated, that means the real killer could still be on the streets. 

"That's the kind of a shame that happens when you have people in law enforcement, including in this office, who ignore their oath, who ignore the Constitution and who engage in misconduct -- which is what happened," said Larry Krasner with the district attorney's office. 

It's a flawed justice system the DA's office hopes to get right. It also means Hollman can finally have justice. 

"I think we got it right this time, yes. Confident we did," Cummings said. 

"So many people who fought hard for me. The biggest thing is that I don't want to let anybody down," Hollman said. 

The charges against Hollman will be formally withdrawn July 30.

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