PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --The jurors who acquitted Tony Wright Tuesday, after less than one hour of deliberations, came to literally embrace the man who spent 25 years in the penitentiary for a heinous crime he did not commit. The newly freed man is tasting his new freedom, and he says it is sweet.
"It's been an unbelievable 24 hours for me. I'm not used to what's going on. I'm living in the moment. I'm on cloud nine," said Tony Wright.
Wright was tried and convicted for the rape and stabbing of his North Philadelphia neighbor, 77-year-old Louise Talley, in October 1991. He has maintained from the start he was railroaded by police and the district attorney, but the Innocence Project fought for and secured DNA evidence three years ago that cleared Wright. The DA chose to keep him in prison and try him again, but the jury completely rejected the prosecution's case.
"The evidence was so compelling for Tony that there really could not have been any other verdict," said Grace Greco, jury foreperson.
"It was a travesty of justice when he was forced to sign a confession that he didn't give, and it's been a travesty of justice for 25 years," said Sam Silver, Innocence Project.
Wright's father says he always believed in his son's innocence, and makes no effort to hide his bitterness toward Philadelphia's law enforcement community.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't angry at that point, but I still kept my faith in God," said Daniel Parker, Wright's father.
"I worship a merciful God. If he forgive people, who am i to hold a grudge against somebody?" said Tony Wright.