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3 Men wrongfully convicted of murder set free after 36 years in prison

Three men incarcerated for 36 years in Maryland have been exonerated in the killing of a Baltimore teenager after a review of their case, according to Aljazeera.com reports.

Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart were released on Monday from custody hours after a judge cleared their convictions and prosecutors dropped the charges. They were teenagers when they were sentenced to life in prison in 1984.

“On behalf of the criminal justice system, and I’m sure this means very little to you gentlemen, I’m going to apologise,” Circuit Court Judge Charles Peters told the men, the Baltimore Sun reported.

At a press conference following the release of the three black men, Watkins said: “this should have never happened.”

“Somebody’s got to pay for this,” he said. “You can’t just leave this like this. This fight is not over,” Watkins said.

“When I got the information, I cried, and I didn’t know how to stop crying until a friend of mine came to me and hugged me and said man your journey is coming to an end, but it is not, my journey is just beginning, because I got to learn how to live right now,” Stewart told local media.

Chestnut, Watkins and Stewart were arrested on November 1983 for the slaying of 14-year-old DeWitt Duckett. The teenager was accosted over his Georgetown jacket and shot in the neck while walking to class at a Baltimore school.

It was the first fatal shooting of a student in a Baltimore public school and drew widespread press attention at the time.

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