A Philadelphia man was fully exonerated after serving 21 years in prison. John Miller, 44, had been incarcerated for more nearly half of his life and on Wednesday (July 31), family members greeted him with tears as he was released from a Pennsylvania prison.
“Soon as I stepped out the doors I just looked up and was just thankful and blessed for what God has done for me,” the newly freed Miller said.
In 1997, Miller was wrongfully convicted of fatally shooting Anthony Mullen at a Philadelphia train station during a robbery attempt the year prior. The case went cold for months until Miller’s neighbor, David Williams, was arrested by police over an unrelated burglary and offered up false information on Mullen’s murder in exchange for leniency, Penn Live reports. Williams claimed Miller killed Mullen, and despite having no physical evidence tying him to the crime, Miller was arrested and convicted of murder. According to NBC News Philadelphia, Williams later admitted to being the actual shooter, but it did nothing to help Miller’s case and he spent two decades in prison.
When Philadelphia D.A. Attorney Larry Krasner took office in 2018, he vowed to reform the city’s prison system and to help end mass incarceration. Since then, several people in the city have been freed on wrongful convictions.
Eight years ago, Miller contacted the Pennsylvania Innocence Project for help. Miller’s lawyers filed numerous appeals all of which were denied, until a federal court offered him hope. The higher court granted a motion of relief provided that Krasner’s office reviewed the case. The case was transferred over to the DOA’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which led to Miller’s conviction being vacated.
“I just kept the faith, stayed positive, and I knew that one day justice was going to be served,” Miller told reporters.
Miller is one of two Philadelphia men whose murder convictions were overturned in the last week, and among seven people exonerated in the city this year.