SAN DIEGO - Uriah Courtney could not hold back the tears. After spending eight years in state prison for something he did not do, he was a free man.
"When I got out, I felt I could fly," he said.
Courtney, along with his mother, father and sister, spoke about his ordeal in front of a throng of cameras at the California Western School of Law, whose students along with the California Innocence Project worked to exonerate him.
"I can't believe this day is here," said Courtney's mother, Mary Gambino.
Courtney was convicted for the rape and assault of a 16-year-old girl in Lemon Grove in 2004. Eyewitnesses placed his truck or a truck that looked like his at the scene. That plus eyewitness testimony sealed his conviction.
New DNA testing, however, pointed to a man who closely resembled Courtney.
All charges against Courtney were dropped and his record expunged.
When asked about the victim who identified him as the attacker, Courtney said he hoped by now she recognized that he was not the attacker but if not, he hopes one day she will.
"I hold no grudge and I'm heartbroken over what happened to her," Courtney said.