Two men who say they were wrongfully convicted have shared their story with PIX11 News Close Up.
Our first guest was Ronnie Long. Long served his entire 36-year sentence after being convicted of shooting a man to death.
Even after being released from prison on parole, he fought to clear his name. Long could have gotten out of prison 18 years earlier, had he agreed to plead guilty.
"That was never going to happen," Long said "I didn't do it." His case was still making its way through the court system as of this interview.
Long not only fought for himself — he became a jailhouse lawyer while in prison, writing well over 1,000 briefs for other inmates. His briefs helped free 12 others with murder convictions. Long said he is proud of that, and for maintaining his dignity from the time he was convicted at age 24, until his release at age 60.
Since his release, he embraces time with his family. His parents are in their 80s and his daughter is now in her 40s. However, Long was barely able to spend time with his son, who died in a boating accident within days of Long's release. During Marvin Scott's interview, Long was moved to tears when he spoke of that lost time with him.
Our second interview is with Jeffrey Deskovic, who was proven to have been wrongfully convicted. He served 16 years before being freed.
Deskovic too became a jailhouse lawyer, and since being released, he has gone to law school and passed the bar.
He said his specialty will be wrongful conviction cases.
Even before Deskovic formed the Foundation for Justice, he helped free seven people who were wrongfully convicted.
He laments that the person later found to have actually committed the rape and murder he was convicted of went on to kill another person — a mother of two.
Both men remain positive and focused on their goals, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones.