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Criminal Justice

LA Man Exonerated Of Murder After Spending More Than 20 Years In Prison

 Alex Torres, left, with his mother, Martha Hernandez, and L.A. County DA George Gascón pose in front of a U.S. and California flag.
Alex Torres, left, with his mother, Martha Hernandez, and L.A. County DA George Gascón.
(Courtesy DA George Gascón via Twitter)
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A man who spent more than 20 years behind bars for a murder he says he did not commit is now free — and he's received an apology from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Alexander Torres was 20 years old when he was accused of fatally shooting a rival gang member on New Year's Eve 2000 in Paramount. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years to life in prison.

The DA's Conviction Integrity Unit reexamined the case. In October, his conviction was set aside and Torres was released from prison.

Torres says he's thankful to the DA's Office and the California Innocence Project for reviewing his case.

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"The words can't explain how you feel,” he said. “It's something I was waiting for a long time but today I'm with my family and I'm very grateful to everybody that had an involvement.”

His mom, Martha Hernandez, says her son suffered "very unpleasant" moments in prison, that she would go for walks and ask: "Lord, when are you going to get my son out of there?"

Earlier this year, the DA's office and the Innocence Project asked a judge to find Torres "factually innocent,” arguing that "a preponderance of the evidence" shows that he did not commit the killing.

The motion was granted. Prosecutors say they're seeking enough evidence to charge the real shooter.

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