'I can breathe now': Philadelphia man exonerated after 21 years wins $6.25 million settlement

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- You may have heard the story of Terrance Lewis, a Philadelphia man who was wrongfully convicted for a West Philadelphia murder in 1996. A crime he did not commit.

After serving 21 years in prison, and another year fighting for compensation, Lewis's long-awaited moment has come to fruition.

Tuesday, Lewis won a $6.25 million settlement from the City of Philadelphia.

"It's a humbling experience, I can breathe now," said Lewis. "The negotiated resolution is a coping mechanism for me personally to move on and put pieces of my life back together."

Kevin Harden Jr., Lewis's attorney said," I'm just happy that it's over. I've been with this case for six years and to have this opportunity, my friend, no longer be my client is releasing."

Lewis, who is now 41-years-old used this tribulation as a way to help others that may have been wrongfully convicted.

The Terrance Lewis Liberation Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Lewis, focuses on investigating claims of wrongful convictions and the inequities he believes exist within Philadelphia's criminal justice system.

"The liberation foundation aimed at providing the advocacy work and support work for those individuals who are similarly situated as I once was," said Lewis.

"The primary goal for this non-profit liberation foundation is to prove freedom and justice for those that are incident," said Lewis.

Partnering with his now friend Kevin Harden Jr., Lewis hopes to launch reforms surrounding education, housing, employment, and health for individuals exonerated and released for wrongful convictions.

Since Philadelphia's District Attorney Larry Krasner took office, Lewis is one of 14 people to be exonerated.

Lewis is the second-largest payment to an exoneree, after Anthony Wright in 2018 who was nearly awarded a $10 million settlement.

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