WILMINGTON, N.C. – A man convicted of murder imprisoned for 28 years is out of prison after a judge ruled he didn’t get a fair trial.
Johnny Small, 43, was convicted of murdering Pam Dreher at a tropical fish shop when he was just a teenager. Now, he’s learning how to live in a world full of smart phones.
WRAL reports Small is now sleeping on his cousin’s couch.
“There’s a lot I’ve got to adapt to,” Small told WRAL. “I don’t know how to function.”
Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Parsons ruled Thursday that there was not enough evidence to justify Small’s 1988 conviction. Parsons agreed to free Small until prosecutors decide if there was enough evidence to put him on trial again.
“What I’m here to decide is, did he receive a fair trial?” Parsons said, according to CBS News. “It is more than abundantly clear that he did not.”
Small is under electronic house arrest while charges are pending, the Associated Press reports.
“It’s terrifying. I mean, I’m happy, but I am terrified,” Small said. “It’s been 28 years I’ve been incarcerated for a crime I didn’t commit. I hope justice comes through.”